High Peak residents urged to take part in dog theft survey

High Peak residents are being urged to take part in an online survey designed to understand the public’s perception of dog theft, enforcement, and the prosecution of offenders.

Thursday, 11th March 2021, 5:46 pm

The survey includes a question seeking views on whether dogs should be treated in law merely as property when they are stolen.

A rise in dog thefts has been reported across the country in recent months, with one Buxton resident warning pet owners to be on their guard after an incident in the Pavilion Gardens last week.

Flo Mitulescu, 29, was playing with her two-year-old poochon Honey in the park when she noticed two men had been standing nearby watching her for several minutes. She felt uncomfortable so led Honey away but then a woman appeared out of the bushes heading straight for the pair.

High Peak residents are being urged to take part in a survey on dog thefts.

"I’ve never felt so uneasy. A person who wants to say hello to a dog will start a chat with the owner, not try to grab their harness,” Flo said.

The charity DogLost saw reported pet thefts rise from 172 dogs in 2019 to 465 in 2020, but it is thought numbers of the offence spiralled last year. The increase in people getting puppies during the lockdown has led to a huge spike in prices, and also led to a rise in thefts.

Now Derbyshire’s Neighbourhood Watch Network is supporting Sussex's Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, who, in partnership with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), has created the online survey.

One of the questions asked is whether dogs should be treated in law merely as property when they are stolen.

Mrs Bourne said: "Pet theft, dog theft in particular, is a growing concern for the public and their fear has been perpetuated over the last couple of weeks with shocking reports in the media of more dogs being snatched by criminals.

"I am incredibly eager to get more detail around this issue and understand residents’ views and if they feel more could be done to respond to their concerns or for more preventative measures to be put in place to better protect their pets.”

Take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dogtheft. It closes on Friday March 12.