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Simple steps from the Countryside Alliance on how Vets can prevent dog thefts in your area

Dog theft, especially of working dogs, continues to be a huge problem in rural areas. With the increase in popularity of fieldsports comes the increase in demand for trained dogs and thieves see valuable gun dogs as a saleable commodity. DogLost, the national database for lost and found dogs, has stated that almost 50% of its missing dog reports actually relate to working dogs.

There are some simple steps you as Vets can take to inform clients of the dangers of Dog theft and how they, as owners can prevent it.

- Tell owners to keep kennels close to the house and to not leave their dog in the car after shooting

- Encourage owners to consider a microchip or ear tattoo, this allows for easy recognition

- When the dog is not working tell clients to consider fitting a collar displaying contact details on a tag

- If not used for breeding, encourage owners to neuter their dogs and display this on collar tag to make them recognisable

- If an owners dog is stolen, swift action is a necessity – ensure owners contact the Police and get a crime reference number. They can also contact their Local Council, Dogwarden and RSPCA to alert them should the dog be handed in

- If the dog is microchipped, tell the owners to report it to Petlog, the UK's largest lost pet microchip database and reunification service which is owned and managed by the Kennel Club. Or to the National Pet Register, which is a continually updated record of pets that have gone missing or have been found. This offers users the opportunity to register their pets for free and each pet is assigned a unique PetID. Should the pet go missing, information can at once be made available, as it is already stored on the Register in the members' section.

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