Organised criminals cut microchips from stolen dogs

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Pet microchip

Since the beginning of 2019 dog thefts have increased by a factor of 2.5. In one database of stolen dogs the increase is by a factor of three. It is believed that organised crime is behind a lot of these thefts because of a surging market in dog adoptions because of coronavirus lockdowns. People are adopting dogs on impulse which creates other problems as well such as early abandonment. We are told by a charity, Dog Lost, that the organised thieves had become used to cutting microchips out from under a dog’s skin. They often do it crudely and cruelly. Sometimes they leave the microchip in because they can get away with this oversight.

Isla had microchip cut out of her

Isla had microchip cut out of her. Photo: Jim Bennett.

This is because microchips are not routinely checked by people who could check them, such as veterinarians. Debbie Matthews, the daughter of the late Sir Bruce Forsyth is leading a campaign to address the weakness in legislation. She wanted and amendment to the current legislation; it’s called “Fern’s Law”. It is named after a dog stolen from a driveway and rescued six years later after the dog had been kept for breeding. During that time the dog was taken to a veterinarian more than once but the dogs was not reunited with their owner because of a failure to check ownership using the microchip.

Mike Jasper's dog Ted stolen in an unpleasant theft

Mike Jasper’s dog Ted stolen in an unpleasant theft. Photo: Lucinda Jasper.

There have been some violent dog deaths. I wrote about one recently. The man who found that his dog was very therapeutic in helping him deal with anxiety was pushed to the ground while an accomplice grabbed his dog (see poster above). They departed laughing. In another case, a female student in Plymouth acquired a couple of black eyes while trying to fend off two men who attempted to steal her pug. Ally Knight 22, advises people not to take out their dog after dark.

Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) is in consultation with others on how to improve microchipping in preparation for planned obligatory micro-chipping in the UK in the not too distant future. The charity I referred to, Dog Lost, said that of the 465 stolen dogs reported to them, 201 had been found and returned to their owners but the remainder are missing.

Pet microchip

Pet microchip. Photo in public domain.

Stealing dogs has become violent and brutal in the UK. Comment: I sense, looking wider, that crime in the UK is on the increase. The statistics that we read about are misleading. The police have lost respect in the UK. They are the authors of their own problems. They fail to stop crime sufficiently frequently. A tiny proportion of criminals are successfully prosecuted and punished. Police are focusing on easy incidents. Not long ago I saw a couple of police cars with four policemen in each on Kingston Bridge dealing with a single man. I don’t know what the man did but it wasn’t anything serious that was clear.

British citizens are on their own when it comes to dealing with crime. I recently had my debit card stolen by a couple of hardened criminals. I reported the matter to the police. Nothing has happened as far as I know. Security cameras captured the theft but also, to the best of my knowledge, they’ve not seen this video. By now it’s been deleted. It’s just not good enough.

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