Pet Theft: safety tips from home security experts

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With an estimated six dogs reported stolen across the UK each day – and only one in four being found and returned – you may wonder how you can keep your pet safe from potential thieves. To help combat this nightmare scenario, home security experts Simplisafe have pulled together some of their top tips to keep them safe – and what to do if the worst happens.

Why do pets get stolen?
There are many reasons behind theft-related crimes that aren’t limited to pets. To keep the focus on pet theft, pets can be stolen for a variety of reasons, such as breeding with other pets, to sell for cash or to hold at ransom.

As you can see, pet theft is mostly motivated by financial gain. Thieves will be on the lookout for places where pets are easy to be stolen from, so it’s important to be wary and have home security systems in place too.

If you’ve ever worried about your pet being stolen, fortunately, there are heaps of preventative measures you can take to ensure your pet’s safety. Here are some of the many ways to keep your pet safe.

“There’s nothing wrong with having a dedicated Instagram account for your pet, but what you want to be wary of is showing too much of your home”

Microchip your pet
Whilst this won’t prevent your pet from being stolen necessarily, it can make reuniting with your pet easier. If a pet is stolen and they haven’t been microchipped, authorities can’t match their information with yours to rightfully identify them as your pet. It’s also important to keep your pet’s microchip updated with your latest contact information.

If you own a dog, by law, they must be microchipped. Whilst cats and rabbits don’t need to be microchipped – although cat owners should do so by June 2024 – it’s highly recommended, even if they predominantly live indoors.

Check what you share on social media
There’s nothing wrong with having a dedicated Instagram account for your pet, but what you want to be wary of is showing too much of your home. This is because it gives potential thieves intel on access points to your home, as well as an idea of where you live which could compromise your own safety too.

Pet owners spend more money on their pets than on themselves

Don’t leave pets in the car
Though most common with dogs, leaving any pet in a car alone is both dangerous for your pet and enticing to thieves. There’s a possibility they may break in if they have the motive to do so. Plus, leaving a pet such as a dog alone in the car, even in what’s perceived as mild weather, could be detrimental to their health. So think twice before leaving your pet alone in a car, even for just a few minutes.

What to do if your pet gets stolen
If you’re ever in a position where your pet has been stolen, there are a number of ways to report it and, hopefully, get your pet back to the safety of your home.

Report the theft
Report the incident to the police, detailing as much information as you can – such as your pet’s name, description, where the theft happened and the date and time of the theft. If your pet was stolen from your home, the difference between a robbery and a burglary will be defined based on the nature of the crime. Be sure to provide a photo of your pet too.

“There are many lost and stolen websites for pets that people frequent to help out”

Get a crime reference number
As soon as you’ve reported the incident to the police, always ask for a crime reference number. This ensures the theft is reported as a crime. When you want to enquire about the crime, you can use the reference provided to help the police find your case quickly.

Report theft to pet microchip company
If your pet has a microchip and you know the company it’s registered to – be sure to ring them up as soon as possible and report your pet as stolen.

Register your pet on lost pet websites
At this stage, you’ll want to alert as many people as possible about your pet, in the hopes that someone comes forward with some good news. There are many lost and stolen websites for pets that people frequent to help out. Here is a list of lost and found pet websites you can search for you to log your pet on:

  • National Pet Register
  • Animal Search UK
  • PetsReunited
  • DogLost

To help spread the word about your stolen pet, it’s a great idea to tell as many people as you can. Your local veterinary practice will often have a lost pet board where you can place a photo of your pet, along with your contact details. To expand your reach further, be sure to do the same by contacting local animal shelters, relevant charities and the like.

Image by minka2507 on Pixabay

Put up photos of your pet in your local area
If you’ve completed the last two steps, your next one will be to place physical posters up in your local area. It’s also a good idea to place them around the area your pet may have been stolen.

Call a pet bereavement support service
The thought of losing your pet forever, or knowing you have no way of getting them back, can be an incredibly distressing thing to process. Be sure to contact a mental health professional if feelings of grief over the loss of your stolen pet are causing you to struggle in your day-to-day life. Alternatively, specialist pet bereavement services help those who need someone to listen and advise on processing this event. Here are a few pet bereavement services to keep on hand if you need them:

  • RSPCA pet bereavement
  • Animal Samaritans pet bereavement service
  • EASE pet loss support service

This is a guest post by Simplisafe. Want to write for us? Visit www.dogstodaymagazine.co.uk/essay-submission or email editorial@dogstodaymagazine.co.uk.

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