Sometimes we know we are in a bad relationship, but we live in denial. We are abused, taken advantage of, and stolen from. Yet we still stay. We stay because we have a comfort zone with the abuse. Not every day is bad, is it? The bumps and bruises are just the cost for having a relationship at all, right?
So, unless you don't have a dog (poor you!). Or if you've been self-isolating in a tent behind a tall bush in Kazakhstan for the last 2 years. Then you'll be only too familiar with the sickening rise in dog theft throughout the UK. Brought on initially by lockdown, and the huge rise in the value of Dogs. Want to know the best news? The solution is actually not that complicated, as detailed further down.
Above: A very brave reporter from Vice Magazine interviewing some dog thieves. It's a not-for-the-feint-hearted watch on You Tube, which might shock you.
🤔 If as a society we rely solely on microchips to return our dogs, then we may not always own them. "He" or "She" might.
- Sure, you have a dog tag on the collar which is a legal requirement.
- You even bought a GPS tracker which has a clever little app, and (yet another) never-ending subscription fee.
- Dog thieves throw them in the bin faster than a McDonald's wrapper.
Yet you still may not always "own" your dog 😧
📅 It was widely reported in 2021 that dog thieves were using microchip scanners to locate and cut out microchips. They then re-implant new blank ones. This changes the dog's identity - and ownership - forever, before they cash in.
⚠️ These scanners are widely available ⚠️
I bought one myself with my Amazon Prime account. It cost me £45. No pre-qualification, no restrictions on supply. The same goes for the new blank chips too. Amazon, eBay, an army of them on Google. Just £45 for my very own DIY Scumbag Dog Theft Kit. Supplied by one of an enormous range of Far Eastern sellers blatantly profiteering from the misery of dogs. No wonder criminals from here to Timbuktu see dog theft as low-hanging fruit. Too downright easy not to pass up. Don't get me started on the pathetic penalties the law imposes on dog thieves. It's potentially riskier stealing someone's Pick N Mix from a bus stop.
Above: A quick search for 'dog microchip scanner' on Amazon.co.uk is a bit of a jaw-dropper. Who is buying all these... only vets? Or kind souls locating lost dogs in parks? The numbers don't stack up.
It was news of this that led to Safehaus inventing the Dog Theft DNA Register 🧬
Quite simply put: - thieves can replace a microchip, but they'll never change your dog's DNA. 💡
Dog owners across the UK are registering their dog's DNA. Giving an affordable extra level of security and peace of mind. Police can (and do) sample saliva when a stolen dog is recovered. Safehaus DNA provide this service free to UK Police as part of any ongoing dog theft investigation. Intro video here:-
So where do we go from here? What can you do about it?
If we are all about to make the important switch to the DNA registration of dogs, then here are 10 important facts to consider. 🐕❤️
• 1- 🧬 DNA profiling is more secure. Dog thieves use £40-£50 scanners to locate and remove the chips, often putting older more 'troublesome' dogs to sleep. Yuck. Your dog's DNA will not change.
• 2- 🏥 DNA is a more humane and better long-term solution to microchips. Some dogs have health conditions making them unable to be microchipped. Microchips can be incorrectly inserted causing suffering. They sometimes migrate to other parts of the body. DNA swabs are painless and only take a few minutes. Job done.
• 3- 🦹♂️ We want to fight crime, and not be victims. We can stop violent criminals. Last year I heard dog theft being reported as the third-fastest growing crime after weapons and drugs. Yikes. We don't need these people anywhere near our beloved pooches.
• 4- 🐶 Dog Theft is hard-wire linked to Puppy Farming and Puppy Trafficking. Apparently, the demand for puppies in the EU is 8 million puppies per year. Yet there are only 1 Million legit breeding houses. Hmm. Those maths just don't stack up.
Above: BBC Spotlight did a recent film on puppy trafficking and again the misuse of microchips, which you can find on i-player.
• 5- 👁️ We can improve biosecurity and help canine genetic diseases to be tracked and traced. In 2018, whole genome sequencing allowed researchers in Helsinki to identify a gene that causes congenital eye disease in dogs. Such a wide and deep data pool would only generate more advances in veterinary science.
• 6- 💸 A DNA Register is inexpensive - compared to buying a new dog!
• 7- 🐑 We can protect not just dogs but other animals too, such as sheep. SheepWatch UK estimated that, in 2016 alone, over 15,000 farm animals were killed by out-of-control dogs
• 8- 🤗 We can unburden the shackles of fear that still exists for yourself and your family. Get back to living life to the full with your dog. Get peace of mind that if your much loved pooch was ever stolen, you stand a far higher chance of it being recovered.
• 9- 💿 The Dogs (DNA Databases) Bill was put through it's first reading at The House of Commons last summer '21. More info here. This coincided with the Home Office and DEFRA setting up the 'Pet Theft Taskforce'. We're campaigning for DNA Registration to become law, and microchips can go the way of the Compact Disc. We all need to get out of this toxic marriage with microchips fast.
Above: The Dogs (DNA Databases) Bill being presented in The House of Commons
• 10- 👮 You can strike fear into the hearts of dog thieves with Police-branded clothing and garden signage. Police Branding is approved courtesy of Secured by Design, granted to the Safehaus Dog DNA Register. Dog thieves often strike a conversation with the dog owner. This is usually to distract or find out more about the dog. This is where seeing the warning writing and the Police logo would help to deter. As tested on beaches, rivers and fields by yours truly and my own doggo. It works.
👉Starting to get the point now?
It is clear how we as responsible dog owners can repay the loyalty of our best loved animals. The World is in a big enough mess as it is with; global warming, COVID, plastics in the ocean and so on. I have no time for dog thieves, and neither should you, my friend.
Dog theft is one thing that WE ALL have the power to solve. We just need to be brave enough to give that wedding ring back. 💍➡️🗑️
Please comment below with your opinion.
So over to you -- what do you think we can do to keep our dogs safer?