A pets lost-and-found group is warning dog owners to beware after markings have been discovered on properties where there are ‘desirable’ dogs to be stolen.
Items such as plastic ties and knotted string have been found outside properties – on fences and lampposts – which members believe may be targeted for pet theft. In some instances there have also been markings drawn on pavements and walls.
Sharon Taylor-Richardson, an admin member of the Barrow-in-Furness Lost And Found Pets Facebook group, became alarmed by the number of reports of dog thefts in the area and co-incidental visits from people driving around in vans and leaving strange markings.
One pet owner even reported seeing lads peering over the fence at the family dog and then painting marks on their back wall before leaving.
Photos of the ties and markings are being shared widely by group members who are then receiving reports of similar findings beyond the Barrow area.
One FB member in Wales who found ties on her property decided to look around the local neighbourhood. A number of others ties were noted among neighbouring properties with dogs, and North Wales police is now involved, with officers requesting photos and information.
Dog owners and members of the public are being asked to remain vigilant and to remove, report and keep the ties where they are seen.
Sharon said the problem was ‘widespread and getting worse’. “Dogs are being stolen to order sometimes, for big money. Or sometimes from breeders because they know the dogs aren’t spayed or castrated and they are easy to find, as they advertise,” she explained.
The problem has become particularly acute as more people tried to purchase pets during lockdown. Sharon is advising all dog owners to be extra vigilant and says anyone looking to buy a pet should be very careful about where they come from.