Published: Wednesday 28 July 2021

Dog ownership has skyrocketed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, as people spent more time at home and re-evaluated their pet needs.

This week the media, has published statistics from The Kennel Club which show that 335 dogs were stolen in the Northwest in 2020.

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire, John Dwyer met with Knutsford Town Councillor Millie Morris recently, who discussed the idea of a dog DNA database which could be set up nationally and holds information similar to that of a microchip to reunite lost dogs with their owners.

John Dwyer said:

“Due to this increase in demand, we have seen an increase in dog thefts, as people have become aware that our four-legged friends can bring a hefty price either being sold on or by ransoming them back to their owners. In Cheshire we’ve seen a number of high-profile dog thefts, and something needs to be done to prevent our much loved pets from falling into the wrong hands. A DNA database would be a good idea, as it provides a fool-proof way for a dog and their owner’s details to be captured, without the worry of them being tampered with.”

Councillor Morris has recently set up a petition, imploring the Government to help tackle the issue of dog thefts.

PCC John Dwyer and Cllr Morris.jpg

Millie Morris commented:

“Horrifically, thieves are now removing microchips from stolen dogs to avoid detection. In my meeting with the Commissioner, he quite rightly pointed out that you can’t remove or alter the DNA from a dog, providing reassurance that owners and their beloved pets will be reunited.

“I’m hopeful this Petition will go viral. Dogs and all pets are family members. The grief that ensues from these thefts cannot be put into words. Hopefully, the Petition will go some way to put pressure on the Government to set up a DNA database to make it easier to re-unite dogs with their lawful owners.”

John Dwyer added:

“We welcome pets into our lives, and they become members of our family.  I’m supporting the petition raised by Councillor Morris, it will provide dog owners with extra reassurance that if their dog does go missing, they can be reunited.”

If you’d like to get involved and sign the petition, you can do so here.

This week, Action Fraud, have launched their ‘Pet Fraud Awareness Week’ in a bit to tackle pet fraud as the result of people buying dogs online, as figures show that more than £2.5m has been lost to criminals through fake pet adverts.

Director of Action Fraud, Pauline Smith, commented:

“Criminals have, and will continue to use, the coronavirus pandemic as an opportunity to scam unsuspecting victims.

“It is important that if you’re considering purchasing a pet online, that you follow the advice of the Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign by taking a moment to stop and think – it could protect you and your money.

“We would always recommend that you view the animal in person before paying any money. If you cannot see the animal in person, ask for a video call. If something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts and do not pay any money until you’re certain it’s genuine.”