Published: 15:00, 25 February 2018
Calls for a new system to record dog thefts have been made after the number of stolen pets across the county reached 50.
Stolen and missing pet website DogLost, which liaises closely with Kent Police to help find pinched pooches, says it is working with the force on the possibility of bringing in a new approach to the recording of such thefts.
As it stands, a dog can be listed under crimes including theft of a motor vehicle, burglary with intent, or other miscellaneous thefts not classified anywhere else, but it is not shown as an incident in its own right.
Jane Frankland, DogLost police liaison coordinator, said: "This shows the need to work with many forces and it is hoped that if all forces did record the theft and crime reference number on DogLost, it would became a national database that can be used by all forces and be a method of keeping all records.
"Forces would also be able to get a crime reference number of another force if picked up a found dog and it matched a stolen dog."
She added: "What is needed is for dogs to be recorded as theft of a dog and not listed as property.
"Because of organisations like DogLost, dog theft is recorded and taken more seriously and some police forces, especially Kent, do record this as a crime where they may not necessarily have done this in the past."
The current outstanding figure for stolen dogs in Kent - where a crime reference number has been given, is 54.
This includes 13 stolen from a breeding kennels in Ditton in April 2016, where a mixtures of breeds were taken: two shihtzus, three chihuahuas, three toy poodles, two cocker spaniels, two pugs and a yorkie.
Also missing are a King Charles and her four pups, a border collie and her five pups, and three chihuahuas.
Ms Frankland added: "Regarding breeds, any dog can be taken as theft but often popular breeds such as French bull terriers, pugs and spaniels are often a target.
"I have noticed a slight increase in puppies being taken and would urge breeders to take care to how much information is given when advertising these puppies for sale.
"There have been cases where some puppies have been stolen after a visit from a possible buyer - although with anyone suspected, police would need proof to prove it was the same person."
To find out more information about DogLost, click here.
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