North Yorkshire Police have urged dog walkers to ignore social media comments that promote carrying weapons to fend off dog thieves.

Lockdown has seen a 170% increase in dog theft according to charity DogLost, with gangs said to be targeting pets with the intention of cashing in on increased demand.

However North Yorkshire Police have said that dog thefts in the region are “very rare” and wish to remind residents that carrying a weapon is both dangerous and illegal.

The force are reassuring residents that North Yorkshire remains one of the safest places to live in England.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Police said:

“We are aware of social media comments regarding carrying weapons whilst dog walking and would remind communities that you must not carry weapons on our streets.

“Not only do you run the risk of seriously injuring yourself or others but it is against the law.

“We understand that news of thefts can be worrying for dog owners, but please be reassured that North Yorkshire is not suffering from a spate of dog thefts and remains one of the safest places to live in England.

“Please try not to engage in social media speculation about these incidents as information can often be skewed and if you wish to report a crime or any suspicious activity, please call the police.”

Lockdown has seen a 170% increase in dog theft according to charity DogLost.

North Yorkshire Police have also released some steps that can help owners safeguard their pets:

  • Ensure your pet is microchipped – if your dog runs off and it is found, you can be easily traced as its owner. If your dog is stolen, when it is taken to the vets, they will discover that the dog is chipped and you will be identified as its rightful owner.
  • Don’t leave dogs unattended in the street, however small and friendly the community.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in a car – particularly when the weather starts to warm up.
  • Don’t overshare on social media, ensure your privacy settings are secure and don’t share details about your home address or regular walking routes.
  • 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 dog to run free near farm animals – we regularly deal with reports of livestock being killed or seriously injured as a result of dog attacks in North Yorkshire and it is vital that owners keep their pets under control at all times.

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