Barking Blondes: Emma Bunton, microchipping and dognapping

Joanne Good and Anna Webb

barking blondes 300x225 Barking Blondes: Emma Bunton, microchipping and dognappingEmma Bunton’s chocolate Labrador, Phoebe went missing this week and was found a few days later dead by a railway track. The dog had run off as they are inclined to do in pursuit of a scent or an adventure and lost her way.

Dawn Maws from Barnsley, a few weeks earlier had her German short haired pointer Angel stolen in front of her. Whilst out on a routine walk with her dogs a white van had drawn up and kidnapped Angel. Despite being chipped and wearing a collar and tag, neither has proved effective.

In desperation and in order to raise a substantial reward for Angel, Dawn has now remortgaged her home. In both these cases, the dogs were microchipped but dog theft is very much on the increase. So it was welcome news from Parliament, this week, that microchipping will be mandatory from April 2016.

Every dog in the UK will be entered on a database similar to car registration and there will be a £500 fine issued to any owner failing to chip their dog. As with all schemes, however, there are flaws and owners have reported chips travelling around the body making them difficult to trace or even worse, not being scanned.

The legislation can only be effective if rescue centres, groomers, kennels etc scan every dog they deal with. Debbie Matthews, Bruce Forsythe’s daughter, who following the theft of her dogs launched a “vetsgetscanning” initiative which ensures vets routinely scan dogs.

We never let our bull breeds run too far ahead of us. And as stated previously in this blog, Gary, the local Big Issue seller, guards both of them whilst they are tied up outside the supermarket. However, a caller to our show this week reported how owners have been mugged at knife point for their dogs and cars being broken into, in order to kidnap a friendly-looking, pedigree pooch.

Pedigree dogs in particular are increasingly being stolen to order, and have become the new ‘drugs money’ crime. Where car radios used to be the easy target now it’s dogs. Maybe it’s due to the recession or just that the popularisation through ‘celebrity’ and media has made dogs hot property.

Having an ID tag on the collar is currently a legal requirement. Without one you are being unlawful and could be fined £80. A tag can prove the simplest means for someone to get in touch if they find your dog. Not everyone has a ‘scanner’ to hand and a vet could be miles away. So a mobile number, full address and ‘chipped’ on the tag is ideal.

According to Doglost a non profit organisation helping reunite dogs and their owners, in 2009 10 dogs were stolen a day compared to over 40 a day in 2012 – there was a 17 per cent increase in dognappings last year alone. Working, trained, gun dogs being the most sought after.

Oraganised dognappers will go as far as to cut chips out of the dog – so as to make the dog untraceable. Even tattoos can been scratched out and a collar with an ID tag removed immediately, leaving a dog unidentifiable. Despite this, overall compulsory microchipping should make a positive difference. Dog owners will be accountable and responsible for their dog and its actions. Hence aiding the re-homing of lost dogs.

There is even ongoing research to introduce “nose” printing as compared to finger printing. Apparently every dogs nose print is different.

Now that’s something not to sniff at!

‘Barking at the Moon’ is on every Thursday from 3-4pm on BBC London 94.9fm

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  • SandySure

    What if it is a guard dog?

    Or did you mean the car?

  • SandySure

    We could take some big steps forward if the penalties for failing to chip and theft were massive.

    In most cases the threat of a “trip to the vet” would deter most would be miscreants.

  • marcbletchley

    evening jo and anna
    i think its a good idear to microchip all dogs and cats.
    i remember back in the 70,s there was a cases of dog nicking in our villages where i lived never found out what or who did it but years later more reported cases of dog nicking were aired.
    so it seems like it comes and goes great reading while listening to nikki on 94.9
    woof woof marc in bletchley towers

  • Tim Crane

    “So a mobile number, full address and ‘chipped’ on the tag is ideal.” Really?? putting your address on a dog tag is asking for trouble, any criminals who have found your dog or been given your dog, then know that your house is dogless, so is almost like leaving an invitation saying, come burgle me!!
    Anyone who is even slightly security aware would only ever put dog’s name, a phone number (preferably a mobile) and “chipped” on a tag.

  • GwendolenMeiMeiWilliams

    Exactly- my larger dog keeps finding ways to escape from the garden when she hears the neighbours horrible little dogs barking and I have even had to take time off work after hearing that she has escaped! As numerous attempts to secure the garden has failed (she is a very high jumper and always finds some way out) the solution is to either tie her up, or keep her in the house, neither of which is ideal.

  • GwendolenMeiMeiWilliams

    We’re in a similar situation although our budget and rental contract does not allow for an electric fence.

  • Heathbar

    I haven’t ever heard of this kind of dog stealing, and if this happening then they must be rather small dogs if they are whizzing off on bikes or running away with the dogs. I have heard of dogs being stolen from cars though. I leave my dog outside local shops, tied up, if there is a suitable place to do so, but don’t go in for very long. Nothing has happened yet, and my dog is nine now. Going shopping with my dog is a lovely pleasure, and thankfully lots of shops allow her in anyway, so the amount of times I leave her outside is miniscule.

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