As soon as a report of a potential crime is made to us, we check the facts and location, then if appropriate we issue an alert email to our members. Our membership includes landowners, keepers and police officers and many people who work and live in our rural environment – people who care about preventing crime in our area.
Experience in recent years has demonstrated that highly professional dog thieves are at work in the Thames Valley area. The main targets have been working dogs in rural areas, particularly spaniels and terriers. Labradors are also popular with the villains.
As a result of consultations with local MPs and the Thames Valley Police, DOGWATCH was formed. If any member has a dog stolen, they should report it to us as well as the police. We immediately inform our dedicated Dogwatch officer at police headquarters. They circulate details to all rural beat officers, RSPCA inspectors and Dog Wardens within the Thames Valley area.
Just as important, snoopers in farmyards, garages and gardens are all too often scouting the premises for a future theft. We tell our members that when they see a snooper, they should not tell him to push off: they should engage him in conversation, get a good description of him and his vehicle together with the registration number and then tell us. Last year many of the suspicious vehicles we reported to the police, were found to be on their wanted list.