DETECTIVES are encouraging Barnsley dog owners to familiarise themselves with the necessary steps to keep their pets safe from theft.

Whilst reports of dog theft are currently low in Barnsley, the police are hoping to ensure that new dog owners know the steps to follow to avoid being a victim.

Temporary superintendent Jamie Henderson said: “Whilst dog theft is extremely rare, in the few circumstances where it does occur, we know it can be heartbreaking.

“For many, dogs are not just a pet, but a member of the family, and it is important that you do all you can to keep them safe.

“We know that around Christmas, there is an increase in people buying dogs to give as gifts, and we want to encourage all those who have bought or received a dog this Christmas to make sure they take the necessary steps to protect their new addition.”

Here are the simple steps detectives are asking residents to follow:

  • Think about security and ensure your garden or yard is secure check for wear and tear or gaps.
  • Keep your dog in view when it goes out into the garden.
  • Consider CCTV or security lighting, which will also deter burglars looking for other valuables.
  • Ensure your dog can be permanently identified by its microchip and check with your vet every year that details are up to date.
  • Keep all documentation relating to your dog(s) in a safe place include clear photos of front and side profiles of your dog, and any unusual markings.
  • Limit public social media posts, they can highlight your pet as a potential target.
  • Never leave your pet tied up unattended, for example, outside shops.
  • Make sure your dog is wearing a collar and ID tag when in a public place, as you are now required to do by law include your surname, telephone number, address and full postcode and if there’s room, put ‘microchipped’ on the tag if your dog has a chip.
  • Train your dog to stay in your sight on walks or use an extending lead if they aren’t keen on listening to you.
  • Vary your routes and walk times and stay alert don’t be on your phone the whole time and keep an eye on your dog and your surroundings.
  • Beware of strangers who show interest in your dog don’t give details about your dog and don’t allow strangers to have their photograph taken with your dog.