Dog theft ! the inspiration for DogWatchUK……
Dogs either disappear because they go walkies off on their own and people pick them up thinking they are lost and homeless Or……………..
People actively target the dog and take it from the garden, or whilst it’s tided up outside a shop, or even whilst its left in the car or safely locked in the house- basically, when its unattended.
All these situations are theft, unless the dog is reported to the Dog Warden as FOUND so its owners can locate it.
When the Boardman family lost their English Setter dog in April 2004, one of the first things they did was contact all the police stations in the West Midlands area. Through their experience, we know that when a person reports their dog lost to the police station it gets recorded in a book and the information does not get circulated to other police stations in the West Midlands area.
Police Stations do not pass on the ‘lost’ dogs details to the Council Dog Warden either. In fact, contrary to popular belief, the police do not want to be involved with lost, found and stolen dogs at all – they would prefer that you go directly to the Council Dog Warden.
The Police now have nothing to do with taking in found dogs thanks to a piece of legislation called the ‘Cleaner Safer Neighbourhoods Bill’ . This Bill transfers responsibility for lost and found pets from the police to the local Dog Warden.This means that the police will not have facilities to take ‘handed in’ dogs into their kennels, and what kennel facilities they do have will be gradually demolished. The police may still take details of your lost dog but this information will only be of use in the immediate area that the Police Station covers, not much use if someone has taken the dog out of the area. They may also just refer you to the local Dog Warden.
Dog Wardens work office hours and of course the problem arises, what to do with a dog found outside the working hours of the Dog Warden? Since this Bill was introduced most people are not aware of the changes, some Police Stations do retain kennels but most do not. Often it is left to the small rescues and sanctuaries come to the aid of the poor bewildered pet and owner. However, Police must still be involved with dog theft, and must issue a crime number to owners who report this crime.
In the main, the general public don’t realise any of this information, it is still a popular belief that you must ring the police to report ‘lost & found’ pets into their reporting systems, and that this will be ‘enough’. It isn’t.
You must contact the Council Dog Warden they are more important than the police in the matter of lost and found dogs. The Dog Warden has more chances of finding your dog.
The support available for the dog owner is limited and confusing because the Police don’t tell other police stations, or the Dog Wardens! Dog Wardens in neighbouring councils don’t communicate across borders much either.
If your dog goes missing you must log the details with as many agencies as possible quickly.
After seven days in Council care, a dog can be sold and rehomed from the centre, removed to a rescue to be rehomed, not necessarily in the area, or destroyed. So the clock is ticking!
The Boardman family, with their missing English Setter soon realised that they were on their own and had to find ways themselves to search for their missing dog. The family had no knowledge about the web sites set up to help with missing pets see list below, and they did not know how rife dog theft was across the UK.
Month after month, it still goes on- more dogs get stolen and lost –
It is possible that some missing dogs could end up in rescues unknown to the owners, as the rescue might be miles away.
Below are some links you may find useful, if you live in the West Midlands.
If you live elsewhere go to your local councils web site and search for dog wardens.
Cannock Chase Council www.cannockchasedc.gov.uk
East Staffordshire www.eaststaffsbc.gov.uk
South Staffordshire District Council www.sstaffs.gov.uk
Stafford Borough Council www.staffordbc.gov.uk
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council www.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk
Stoke On Trent City Council www.stoke.gov.uk
Tamworth Borough Council www.tamworth.gov.uk
North Warwickshire www.northwarks.gov.uk
Nuneaton and Bedworth www.nuneatonandbedworth.gov.uk
Stratford on Avon http://www.stratford.gov.uk/community/community-3333.cfm
Bromsgrove dog warden 01527 88 12 88
Malvern Hills www.malvernhills.gov.uk
Redditch dog warden 01527 53 40 17
Wychavon dog warden 01386 56 50 15
Wyre Forest dog warden 01562 73 29 28
Herefordshire dog warden 01432 26 17 61
Birmingham Dogs Home and Sunnyside Kennels