As puppy prices soar across the UK, I am aware of concerns with the recent rise of dog thefts in our community, with incidents taking place particularly on and around Tooting Common.
Perpetrators have been using a number of tactics, including snatching leads from dog owners’ hands, using dog whistles to attract dogs roaming off-lead, and impersonating RSPCA employees to gain access to dogs. One strategy involves approaching people walking their dogs and informing them that their dog resembles an animal that has been reported lost, before asking to scan the dog’s microchip in their van. Once near the van, dogs are being separated from their unsuspecting owners before driving away.
The RSPCA reminds that their officers will always be wearing uniforms bearing the charity’s logo and will be carrying identification, and asks that any member of the public who believes someone is impersonating an officer report the incident to the RSPCA and to local police.
Suspicious activity – including being approached with questions about your dog, asking for photographs to be taken of your dog – should also be reported.
I have written to Inspector Barrie Capper, Head of Wandsworth Neighbourhood Policing Team, asking them to take action to protect our pets and tackle this awful crime.
In the meantime, Blue Cross have provided a helpful list of actions you can take to help keep your dog safe.
Click here for more information.