After our previous blog about pets being stolen in St Albans, a community Police officer issued the following email:-

Dog Thefts - Debunking The Myths
 Dear Watch Member,It has come to my attention that there is a story, or stories, circulating on social media regarding the theft, or attempted theft, of dogs in the St Albans area.The story that I have seen states something along the lines of males in a 4x4 stealing dogs, or something similar, and scaremongers readers in to "not walking dogs alone".Please let me reassure you that as far as I am aware there is no such issue within St Albans, and as an avid dog lover myself, please don't be afraid of walking your dogs!That being said we would always encourage members of the public to walk dogs safely, with high visibility clothing if walking at night.Unfortunately it takes just one member of the public to post a hoax story on Facebook, then with the power of the "share" button, the story can reach hundreds or thousands of people within a very short time frame.Please note that the only place to find factual information are on our official website, official Facebook page, official Twitter page or via OWL messages from Police staff.If you see this type of story floating around on Facebook, please feel free to give the poster this information, as well as my contact details if they should wish to discuss it. As nobody should ever be afraid to walk their dog!If you need to reply regarding this message, click on this email address: lewis.griffiths@herts.pnn.police.ukRegards,
Lewis Griffiths 
Police Community Support Officer 
Neighbourhood Watch 
Email: lewis.griffiths@herts.pnn.police.uk 

This has had mixed reviews with some people arguing that they know of dogs that have been stolen. I myself was at a vets a while ago when some travellers bought a border terrier in for a cesarean. Luckily the vet checked their records and discovered the dog had been previously stolen. The dog was reunited with it's owner but the police were powerless as the travellers just said that they had found the dog.The following news story has just been released as well:-http://www.bucksfreepress.co.uk/news/11700806.Attempted_dognapping_in_High_Wycombe_as_pet_owner_is_punched_and_kicked_in_assault/

I think the main thing is to remember that these are not common occurrences. Try and walk with another walker and don't let your dog run off out of sight. If walking in the dark, take a torch with you that can also be used in defense. If your dog is un-neutered, perhaps consider getting them done as some have been known to be stolen to use for breeding. But most importantly, keep your eyes peeled and if you see anything suspicious, alert the police.