The SSPCA is warning that dog theft is on the rise across the country as demand for dogs spiked during the pandemic.
Now the Pitlochry Neighbourhood Watch is warning locals after one woman reported what she viewed to be suspicious behaviour.
Cath Marshall from the watch said: “A Pitlochry dog walker recently encountered an unknown man on her path while walking her dog at the Recreation Ground.
“The stranger was described as over friendly towards the dog, crouching down to encourage it to come to him. The owner managed to take avoiding action but the encounter left her suspicious that the man may have had dog theft in mind.
“While the man’s actions may have been quite innocent, the effect was to create suspicion, as this is the sort of behaviour the previous alert warned us about.”
The concern follows a report which the SSPCA shared the story of a dog being stolen in Laurencekirk.
Thieves stole the dog from a back garden from a kennel where the Cocker Spaniel, Skye, was being looked after.
After searching an address in Brechin, Skye was found safe and sound by the police who returned her to her owner.
However, ‘it is strongly suspected’ by the police that Skye was stolen for breeding with the rising price of puppies.
Inspector Allen Shaw, Stonehaven Community Policing Team, said: “We know the massive emotional impact that any dog theft has on their owners and we are delighted to have been able to return Skye safely. We will always robustly pursue all lines of enquiry to return any property to its rightful owner I would like to thank all members of the public who assisted us throughout this investigation.”
More information on protecting your dog can be found on: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/news-events/issues-campaigns/dog-theft/family_pawtrait_flyer.pdf