Rumours have been circulating on Facebook that there is a heightened risk of dog theft.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson said:
We are not aware of any thefts of this nature in North Yorkshire, however, we have taken many calls relaying third-hand information which we believe has been sparked by rumours on social media sites.
These rumours have been circulating across the country and are believed to originate in the USA.
North Yorkshire Police have said they want to reassure dog owners following rumours circulating on Facebook about homes being highlighted for dog theft.
Rumours suggest that gangs are using small stickers to mark the number of dogs there are in households to later steal them.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesperson added:
Although we urge people not spread unfounded rumours via social media, this must not deter genuine victims of crime from contacting the police if they believe their pets have been taken.
Dogs do get stolen under a variety of circumstances and owners should always take basic crime prevention measures.
The following advise has been issued:
- Ensure your pet is microchipped – particularly useful if your dog runs off and gets lost
- Don’t leave dogs unattended in the street
- Don’t leave them alone in a car – particularly when the weather starts to warm up
- Ensure your garden is secure and don’t leave them alone for long periods of time
- If you keep them outside, make sure your property and kennels are secure
- Always keep them on a lead when walking near roads
- Ensure your dog is fully trained to come back to you before you let it off the lead
- Don’t allow your pooch to run free near roads or in built up areas
- Don’t allow it to run free near farm animals
- Don’t let it become a nuisance or danger to other people or animals
If you see any suspicious activity, vehicles or people – but not postings on Facebook – please call the police on 101