There have been media reports of dog thefts in parts of the country recently, and North Yorkshire Police has published a statement on their website, including guidance on what to do when out with your pet.

North Yorkshire Police Inspector, Martin Dennison, said:

“We know there is a lot of concern around dog thefts both nationally and in North Yorkshire but we want to reassure our communities that these type of incidents are rare with seven reported to us since 1 October 2020. Enquiries are ongoing following the incident in Pickering recently and we are working hard to follow up any reports of suspicious activity from the public.
“Whilst it is always advisable to take the necessary steps which help keep your pets safe, such as microchipping and keeping them close to you on a walk, dog owners in North Yorkshire do not need to be fearful for their own or their dog’s safety. Social media is an important tool for our communities, and one which we use a lot in policing to help share information, but please be cautious when reading and sharing posts as some issues may not be as they appear.
“We have heard reports and social media posts around taking weapons for protection on daily dog walks and I want to underline the fact that we do not advise or condone this.
“Please remember, carrying a weapon is illegal and could result in injury to yourself and/or others. If you see anything suspicious or experience anything which you are worried about then be assured we are here to help so please call 101 to report any concerns.”

Here are the latest statistics to show the number of dog theft incidents in North Yorkshire:

  • In 2021 so far we have had 5 dog theft incidents reported.
  • In July – September 2020 we had 10 dog theft incidents reported. To put this in context over that same 3 month period we had 3,002 general theft offences reported in total.
  • From 1 March 2019 to 29 February 2020 – 18 dog theft incidents were reported to North Yorkshire Police.
  • From 1 March 2020 to 28 February 2021 – 25 dog theft incidents were reported to North Yorkshire Police.

There are a number of steps you can take to help safeguard your dog:

  • Ensure your pet is microchipped – if your dog runs off and it is found, you can be easily traced as its owner. If your dog is stolen, when it is taken to the vets, they will discover that the dog is chipped and you will be identified as its rightful owner.
  • Don’t leave dogs unattended in the street, however small and friendly the community.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in a car – particularly when the weather starts to warm up.
  • Don’t overshare on social media, ensure your privacy settings are secure and don’t share details about your home address or regular walking routes.
  • Ensure your garden is secure and don’t leave them alone for long periods of time.
  • If you keep them outside, make sure your property and kennels are secure.
  • Always keep them on a lead when walking near roads.
  • Ensure your dog is fully trained to come back to you before you let it off the lead.
  • Don’t allow your dog to run free near farm animals – we regularly deal with reports of livestock being killed or seriously injured as a result of dog attacks in North Yorkshire and it is vital that owners keep their pets under control at all times.

Please report any suspicious activity or dog thefts to us by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency, we are here to help but cannot investigate crimes if they are not reported to us.