Lancashire is dog theft hotspot

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Call for vigilance after figures show dozens of pets stolen.

More dogs are stolen in Lancashire than almost anywhere else in the country, new figures show.

Figures obtained from police forces across the country using Freedom of Information requests found a total of 77 dogs were stolen in Lancashire last year – placing it in the country’s top four hot spots for dog thefts behind West Yorkshire at 123, Kent at 128 and London at 165.

Now, rural economy organisation CLA is warning pet owners to be extra vigilant and warned thefts could rise because animals can often be sold quickly and are not easily traced. Douglas Chalmers, CLA north director of policy and public affairs said: “Dogs are targeted by thieves because they can easily make money selling them on, often for breeding or, most distressingly, for fighting.”

Last month four-month-old rottweiler Lexie was stolen from an address in Staining Avenue, Larches, in Preston, just a week after owners Gary Kinvig and Sonia Virk bought her. Neighbourhood police officers also warned owners to be vigilant after two reports of attempted dog thefts in Leyland in June.

The CLA is urging dog owners to cut the risk of theft by ensuring their animal is micro chipped and wears a collar and ID tag, with full contact details. Mr Chalmers added: “The Government is bringing in compulsory micro chipping for all dogs from April 2016 but we would recommend that owners act sooner rather than later. Gundog owners should always be aware of where their animal is while they are on a shoot and make sure it is never out of the sight of guns, beaters or pickers-up.”