Advice issued to dog owners after attempted theft in Stevenage

An attempted dog theft has been reported in Stevenage

An attempted dog theft has been reported in Stevenage - Credit: Archant

An attempted dog theft has been reported in Stevenage - and police are now urging people to keep gates locked and report any suspicious behaviour.

Stevenage Dog Watch reported that there was an attempted theft of a dog from a rear garden in Martins Wood at around 6pm on Friday, September 10.

The residents were alerted to a noise and on going to the back garden, saw the gate open and a woman calling their dog over to her.

When challenged she said she thought the dog was lost.

She then got into a white Nissan Qashqai, the rear door of which was open, and drove off.

The woman is described as being in her mid 20s with dark hair in a pony tail.

Dog owners are advised to keep their gates locked where possible, and report any suspicious behaviour to the police.

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Pet abduction is set to become a new law following a report by the government's Pet Theft Taskforce, established in May this year.

Evidence suggests that around 2,000 dog theft crimes were reported to police in 2020, causing considerable distress for owners and their pets alike. The price of some breeds increased by as much as 89 per cent over lockdown as people spent more time at home, potentially making dog theft more appealing to criminals looking to profit from the spike in public interest in owning a pet.

The new law will recognise the welfare of animals and that pets are valued as more than property.

Following the news, announced earlier this month, RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: "We’re really pleased to hear the government’s Pet Theft Taskforce recommendations.

"Pet theft can leave families in utter turmoil and have serious welfare implications for animals ripped away from everything they know.

"The new pet abduction offence will acknowledge the seriousness of this crime and we hope this will encourage courts to hand out much tougher sentences to pet thieves.

"We’re also thrilled that the government wants to simplify the microchipping database system and we believe this will help to tackle pet theft as well as other animal welfare issues and irresponsible pet ownership generally."

Dogs Trust also has further advice available on its website, here

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