We’re lucky to live in a lovely area of London, with plenty of open space to walk dogs as well as dog friendly places to take them. However, a new bar is opening and it’s not “dog friendly”. So, any caring animal owner wanting to visit would leave his or her dog at home, right?

DTA poster
One of the various helpful posters available to download from www.dogtheftaction.com

Apparently not.

Today was the venue’s first day of business and, as we walked by (we’ve not been in, honestly), I saw a woman tie her young cockerpoo-type dogs to the railings and head into the pub.

I was livid and very close to unclipping her dogs’ leads and walking them out of sight to show her how quickly someone can be gone with your dogs. This is a busy street with buses stopping just where the dogs are, parking nearby and routes into several large parks to help you make your get away.

A changing world

If I had warned her about dog theft and advised her not to tie her dogs up, what would have been her reaction? Well, I’ve tried that before and got the “I’ve had dogs all my life” stand point. Just because you’ve tied your dogs up outside shops all your life doesn’t stop the world from changing. We must face up to it: dog theft is a serious threat all dog owners need to be aware of.

As we lead up to Christmas, dog theft, and theft in general, increases. We need to make our clients aware, without scaring them, of good advice on reducing the risks to them and their dogs.

Good resources are available online, especially from www.dogtheftaction.com, where you can find posters to download with simple advice.

The little things

In urban areas it is the little things that matter:

  • Don’t leave dogs tied up outside shops. Nothing you “need” from that shop is as important as that furry friend.
  • Don’t leave dogs unattended in your car – ever. Even when paying for fuel. There are pay-at-pump options if, like me, you drive with your dog a lot.
  • Don’t leave them in an unsecured garden alone.

If you live in a more rural setting, secure your garden, secure outdoor kennels and consider CCTV and alarms for your dog kennels. Or just bring them indoors – they love it.

Dog friendly?

Wherever I go I take my dog and ask if a business is dog friendly. I am lucky to have a small, cute dog, but find if you turn up looking smart and the dog is under control you are much more likely to be allowed in. Even if a place doesn’t overtly advertise it is dog friendly. If you can phone in advance and check, or email with a picture of your dog (in fact, I have won many people over by doing this).

While I respect a place’s right to refuse me entry it is not a legal standpoint, but at the owner’s discretion. This is a bit infuriating to me, as many are tarring all dogs and their owners a health risk, when that isn’t the case. So approaching individual places politely often works wonders. Our local pub doesn’t advertise it is dog friendly, but it loves us going in and even holds competitions for the dogs. Hollie won “best Christmas jumper” last year. I was so proud.

There are many ways to make sure your dog is safe and you can still include them in your lifestyle. Please help your clients make good decisions about how to do that and keep their loved one safe.

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