Kirkcaldy dog owners fear estate is being targeted by gangs
Residents in a Kirkcaldy estate have sparked huge concern that gangs may be operating in the area, and stealing dogs by identifying homes with ties on nearby lamp-posts.
The advice comes after people living on Dunnikier Estate reported an abundance of cable ties attached to lamp-posts in the area.
They feared that their properties have been targeted by gangs of dognappers.
And that has sparked reports that worried residents have taken to the streets to remove the ties.
Facebook forum, Fife Jammer Locations, featured hundreds of comments from worried locals, and others insisting it was an urban myth.
One worried resident commented: “My neighbour came to my door today with two cut off cable ties from outside my house, I have two dogs and the lamppost was renewed four months ago so I think there is some truth to this."
Another posted: “It makes you scared to take your dog out for a walk, shocking!”
Not all residents believe that the cable ties are the work of gangs with one commenting: “Why would dognappers put a cable tie on a lamppost when they could just text an address?
"I don’t think it is dognappers, especially if this information is online, why would they continue doing it if the secret was made aware to everyone?”
The theft of dogs has become a real issue in lockdown.
Inspector Alan Dron, with the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC), said: “Across Scotland, the theft of dogs has significantly increased, primarily due to households looking to buy a puppy or dog during the recent Covid restrictions.
“It is important those owning dogs, whether as a pet or a working dog, realise criminals are actively looking for any opportunity to steal a dog and have no regard for its welfare therefore it is vital owners make it harder for such incidents to occur.
“Understanding the massive emotional impact any dog theft has on its owners, please make sure you dog has been microchipped, take clear photographs of it from various angles and in particular of any distinguishing features.
"Also, be wary of strangers asking questions about your dog, looking for local kennels or driving up farm tracks, then if challenged, stating they are lost.
"If the worst happens, ensure you contact the police as soon as possible.”
Insurance company, NFU Mutual, is a partner of SPARC and shares claim information with the police to combat pet theft has issued the following advice to help protect pets from dognappers.
Make sure your dog is microchipped and you keep the details up to date, and avoid leaving the dog outside unattended and out of sight, or in a vehicle on their own.
Be careful what you share on social media, particularly about puppies and your location, if you are buying a dog, ensure that you thoroughly check the background and if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Be vigilant, record suspicious vehicle details and report any sightings to police, and ensure you have clear photos and note any identifiable features of your animal as these will be vital in tracking the dog down and proving your ownership.