Fears Raised Over Dog Theft
In a letter to us, a local resident has raised fears over community members leaving dogs unattended in public areas and unsecured gardens.
Donald Grant has contacted us after seeing several dogs in Penicuik’s town centre left unattended. As a result of his association with several dog charities he is more than aware of the dangers of doing this including dog theft, which is not unlikely due to the premium thieves can achieve by selling them on. However his fears do not stop there as Mr Grant has raised the point that these stolen dogs may not fall into the hands of reputable citizens and could then be used to help aid the training of illegal fighting dogs. Due to this, in these circumstances, many dogs are found injured or fatally wounded.
Mr Grant is appealing to the kind nature of Penicuik’s dog owners to not leave dogs unattended whilst shopping in public areas.
In his letter – which can be found below – he also raises important points regarding laws associated with dog identification and the right way to give up a dog that is no longer what you signed up for.
Whilst I’m out and about I quite often see dogs tied up outside shops whilst their owners are inside making a purchase and I feel it’s prudent to warn them of the dangers of doing this. Just in the last week I’ve seen a beautiful little red Staffordshire Bull Terrier outside Rowlands Pharmacy opposite Tesco, a brindle Staffie outside B&M, a liver and white English Springer Spaniel outside Lidl and on another occasion a chocolate brown Labrador at the same location. All highly desirable dogs and all commanding a good price when sold on. As someone who has an association with two dog rescue charities I frequently hear stories of dogs being stolen, not just from outside shops but also from easily accessed gardens and on occasion whilst being exercised off lead in public parks. It is not just pedigree dogs that are stolen though, any dog is fair game to the thieves and it’s a crime that’s on the increase throughout the U.K.
The lucky dogs will be sold on to loving homes but sadly and increasingly frequently a lot find themselves being used as bait dogs to train illegal fighting dogs. They are usually found two or three weeks after being stolen, dead or dying from horrific injuries. I’d like to appeal to Penicuik and districts’ dog owners not to leave their dogs unattended outside shops, if you need to go shopping leave your dog at home. Keep your dog close to you when exercising it in parks and open spaces and make sure it is trained to come back to you immediately you call it. Not always easy I know, but it could just save your dogs life.
A couple of other things I should point out. Did you know that it is a legal requirement for your dog to wear a collar when out in a public place and that there must be some form of identification tag attached to the collar with your name, address and contact details on it, micro-chipping isn’t sufficient. It’s not advisable to have the dogs name on the tag though, that makes life easier for potential thieves. And did you know that whilst your dog is off lead and running around enjoying himself he is officially classed as a stray and could be picked up and taken away by the council dog warden. In practice that doesn’t happen as the dog warden does exercise his common sense but strictly speaking he could impound every dog he sees off the lead and he probably would pick up any dog with no identification.
Finally some people find that after a few weeks or months that cute little pup has grown into a large hard to handle destructive dog and so decide they no longer want the dog. If you find you can’t keep your dog for whatever reason then please do not advertise it as “free to good home”. That is a source also used to obtain bait dogs. Please contact a rescue society such as the Dogs Trust or a breed specific rescue charity. They will gladly take your dog and will find a suitable home for it. They don’t just give dogs to anyone who wants to adopt, they will do a home check and in most cases match a particular dog with its prospective adopter and family. Sometimes there may be a particular reason an owner feels they can’t keep their dog but most rescue charities will offer assistance to allow the owner to keep a much loved pet. It may be as simple as needing re-training but you can be sure that the needs of the dog and owner are taken into consideration. If that’s not possible then breed specific rescue charities will place the dog in a foster home until a forever home is found. Every effort is made to keep dogs out of kennels and dog pounds and place them in foster-family homes right away.
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