SYP encourages public to ‘protect your pooch’

Date published: 29 December 2021 09:01
Dated: 29 December 2021 09:00:00

Detectives are encouraging people to familiarise themselves with the necessary steps to keep their dogs safe from theft, as there is expected to be an increase in new dogs in homes across the country following Christmas.

Whilst reports of dog theft are low at present in South Yorkshire, with only two reports of dog theft received in November, detectives are encouraging any new dog owners to make sure they are aware of the steps to follow to avoid becoming victim.

Our Force Lead for Serious Acquisitive Crime, Temporary Superintendent Jamie Henderson, said: “Whilst dog theft is extremely rare, in the few circumstances where it does occur, we know it can be heartbreaking. For many, dogs are not just a pet, but a member of the family, and it is important that you do all you can to keep them safe.

“We know that around Christmas, there is an increase in people buying dogs to give as gifts, and we want to encourage all those who have bought or received a dog this Christmas to make sure they take the necessary steps to protect their new addition.”

You can protect your pooch from day one of dog ownership by following some simple steps at home:

  • Think about security and ensure your garden or yard is secure – check for wear and tear or gaps.
  • Keep your dog in view when it goes out into the garden.
  • Consider CCTV or security lighting, which will also deter burglars looking for other valuables.
  • Ensure your dog can be permanently identified by its microchip and check with your vet every year that details are up to date.
  • Keep all documentation relating to your dog(s) in a safe place – include clear photos of front and side profiles of your dog, and any unusual markings.
  • Limit public social media posts, they can highlight your pet as a potential target.

It’s just as important to make sure that your dog is protected whilst you’re out and about, and you can do this in a few simple ways:

  • Never leave your pet tied up unattended, for example, outside shops.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag when in a public place, as you are now required to do by law – include your surname, telephone number, address and full postcode and if there’s room, put ‘microchipped’ on the tag if your dog has a chip.
  • Train your dog to stay in your sight on walks or use an extending lead if they aren’t keen on listening to you!
  • Vary your routes and walk times and stay alert – don’t be on your phone the whole time and keep an eye on your dog and your surroundings.
  • Beware of strangers who show interest in your dog – don’t give details about your dog and don’t allow strangers to have their photograph taken with your dog.

Temp Supt Jamie Henderson added: “As a force we continue to tackle this devastating crime by working closely with partner agencies and gathering intelligence which helps us uncover the activity of dog theft criminals. However, we know that highlighting crime prevention advice like this among the dog owning community, and encouraging them to take those extra security steps, is hugely important and deters criminals from seeing their dog as a target in the first place.”

South Yorkshire Police have recently produced some information leaflets and posters sharing this important advice that you will be able to pick up at your local high street vets. If you are a registered dog breeder or run a relevant community-based organisation, such as puppy training school or dog walking group, and would benefit from receiving some of these materials, please email:

If you have information about dog theft which you think might help police, please report it by calling 101. Alternatively, if you don’t feel comfortable talking to police, you can call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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