Published: 12:55, 08 April 2021
| Updated: 13:57, 08 April 2021
Police are assuring pet owners there is no information to suggest cable ties are being placed in front of homes to highlight them as potential targets for dog thefts.
Residents have shared fears regarding the number of animals being taken from across the Medway Towns.
One owner was informed by a neighbour the use of cable ties on lampposts was a trick used to mark houses with “stealable” dogs.
Although stories have been written by various publications across the country, police say there is no hard evidence to support these claims.
Ch Insp Mark McLellan, head of dog section, said: “The loss of a pet can be devastating for victims. We are working to offer support and crime prevention advice to any member of the public affected or likely to be affected by this type of crime.
“Nationally we have witnessed a significant rise, but not in Kent.
“In addition to micro-chipping, home and garden security can also be considered including the use of good quality CCTV and security lights to help keep criminals at bay.”
Pet owners still fear letting their dog outside in their garden in case it is stolen.
Dog thefts in Kent have increased slightly since 2019 from 101 reports to 118 reports in 2020, Ch Insp McLellan said.
There have been 28 reported thefts so far this year.
"This is why the work we do to prevent crime with partner agencies, charities and volunteers is just as important as solving crimes that are reported to us," Ch Insp McLellan added.
"It helps us to build up a picture of the issues around the country and ensure we protect the people of Kent by sharing information and offering advice where we can. If it doesn’t look right, its probably not, so please report it.
"We always recommend pet owners take every measure available to them to keep their animals safe. In addition to micro-chipping, home and garden security can also be considered including the use of good quality CCTV and security lights to help keep criminals at bay.
"It is important that anyone who has been a victim of dog theft or has witnessed anything suspicious reports incidents to us so that we can identify those targeting pet owners and ensure they are arrested and prevented from continuing with this criminal activity."
Ward member for Rochester South and Horsted at Medway Council, Cllr Trevor Clarke, said: "Pet theft is particularly despicable and we know there have been calls to toughen the sentencing and make it a specific offence from the police and crime commissioners and parliament has debated petitions on the subject.
"Having had dogs myself, would totally support any such action."
Many people have expressed their fears to walk their dogs alone, owners have voiced their worry about the possibility of thieves taking their much loved pets away from them.
To report a crime visit www.kent.police.uk or call 101.