Dog on the beach

Theft: Dogs are being stolen from areas such as beaches, parks and fields  Image: Tom Jayne

With cases of dog theft on the rise across the country over the past year, it is more important than ever to know what signs to look out for if you and your dog are targeted by thieves.

Have you ever noticed mysterious chalk markings outside your house? This may be a sign that you are a target for the next dog theft.

In a follow up from fellow Truthfal reporter, Kieran Bell’s piece which documented the rise in dog theft, we are now showing you how to best prevent your dog from being stolen.

On February 18th, Bell reported for Truthfal that there had been a 33% increase in reports of dog theft in Devon and Cornwall in 2020. Since then, incidents have increased. Recent stories have come from Gyllingvase Beach in Falmouth, Perranporth Beach and many more online about dogs that have been lost or stolen, but also sightings of potential thieves.

So with the increased threat of someone trying to pinch your pooch, what are the signs to look out for?

On the ‘Dogs Lost Cornwall’ Facebook page there was a post that highlighted a suspicious white van in the Hayle area, with the driver tying cable ties to cars or houses that contained dogs that were worth stealing.

Chalk markings

Chalk: Thieves are marking houses with mysterious chalk markings to show them as targets  Image: Cheshire Live

Another sign to look out for is strange chalk marks on or outside of your property; these markings could mean various things but most likely it will mean that someone has been watching you and has marked your house as a ‘target’ for an associate to come and steal from. These markings may not just be about dogs, but could also be general theft.

Speaking to Sammy Howard from the RSPCA in Cornwall, she said: “Dogs are here to please, at the end of the day. They like pleasing people, it’s what they’ve been bred for years to do.” This highlights another important fact. If someone approaches your dog, with a treat maybe, they will be earning the dogs trust which will make it easier for them to make the dog comply.

Poster from Dog Lost

Microchip: Poster informing dog owners to keep microchips up to date Image: Dogs Lost Cornwall Facebook Group

If your dog has been lost or stolen, here is the crucial information you need:

  • If your dog has disappeared from your garden, it won’t usually wander very far. Check with your immediate neighbours and ask them to check their gardens and garages.  Search the neighbourhood.
  • Call the dog warden, local vet or rescue centres and the microchip company to let them know your dog is missing.
  • If you are out for a walk with your dog, leave a piece of clothing by your car so the dog can smell its way back. Always carry a recent photo of your dog to show to people who may have seen it.
  • Always call warmly for your dog so it knows its not in trouble or it could hide away for longer.

This information was taken from the Devon and Cornwall Police and if you want any further information then please do follow the link.

Further information is available by searching for ‘Dogs Lost Cornwall’ on Facebook or on the RSPCA website.