DOG owners in Hungerford and the Lambourn Valley have been warned to take extra care of their pets following reports of attempted ‘dognapping’.
Hungerford resident Stephen Collins said that, on Monday, March 5, a friend was walking their Jack Russell near The Croft green when they became aware of two males sitting in a dark, or black, 4x4 vehicle with silver ‘grab rails’ on the side.
At the same time, a blonde woman stood nearby, smoking a cigarette.
Mr Collins said: “The dog went to say ‘hello’ to the lady, who asked if he was friendly.”
Upon being told that the dog was indeed friendly, things took a sinister turn.
Mr Collins, who lives nearby, said: “The woman then picked him up and started walking toward the vehicle.”
The alarmed dog owner managed to snatch back their pet and the two males and the woman sped off in the vehicle.
The incident has been reported to police.
Mr Collins said: “This is the second incident I’ve heard of – apparently the day before there was a similar attempted dog theft in Baydon, involving people of a similar description.
“I’d urge owners to be vigilant, especially if they’re walking their dog off the lead.”
Meanwhile, another posting on social media warned: “Just a heads-up to those that walk their dogs in the West Berks area – there are dog thieves around.”
The poster reported an incident of attempted dog theft involving people in a white van.
Dog theft is a perennial problem.
Police report that, while some animals are stolen from kennels and outhouses, thieves are becoming increasingly bold, with animals being taken as they are being walked and others being specifically targeted in burglaries.
Gangs’ most popular targets are trained working dogs, such as labradors, although other popular types such as chihuahuas and pugs also figure highly in the list of breeds stolen.
Thames Valley Police advise owners to think twice before leaving their dog tied up outside a shop.
They also advise: