Today he met with a number of dog owners to hear some of their concerns.
The Crime Commissioner joined them on The Harrogate Stray to discuss what they think should be done to keep their animals safe and also pass on advice from Neighbourhood Watch’s ‘Protect Your Pooch’ campaign on what we can all do to support the efforts.
Philip Allot the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire said:
I made a number of pledges during the election campaign, and I am starting to make good on those with the first around pet theft.
An Inspector has now been appointed to co-ordinate action against dog crime, and to also train officers to be more empathetic towards people when they come in and talk to officers about dog crimes.
I am also working with the Home Secretary with defra putting together a report, that will cover dogs and cats. That would give more serious sanctions, such as prison sentences for pet thefts. That’s an exciting development, and something we started in North Yorkshire.
Dog theft has previously been recorded as property theft, but this will lead to a new category of pet theft. We are not currently sure when that would come in as it would need to go through Parliament to be enacted.
Today we want to highlight awareness in terms of pet theft, keep pets safe, keeping on a lead, if your dog is outside at home, making sure your premises are secure and people can’t come in.
Also people need to make sure their dogs are chipped and don’t give out your dogs name over social media.
Dogs are part of the family and around 70% of people are concerned around pet theft.
The Chief Constable Lisa Windward has today appointed Inspector Drummond, from the Dog Section, to coordinate the response to the offences. He will also be encouraging people to respond to the DEFRA taskforce which has been set up to look at ensuring police have the laws they need to focus on this issue. At the moment dogs are classed as ‘property’ so thefts are not defined, recorded or dealt with as a specific crime.
Neighbourhood Watch have now launched a campaign to encourage owners to keep their dogs secure, in sight and searchable so they are doing their bit to help protect their pets. Full details about the campaign, including their top tips, can be found at www.ourwatch.org.uk/protectyourpooch