‘Dog snatchers’ in Reading? How to stay safe when walking your dog

DOG owners are warning others in Reading to be careful when out walking dogs after a string of suspicious behaviour and stolen dogs have been reported in Berkshire.

Following recent reports of missing dogs across the county, and several reports of ‘strange’ behaviour around Bracknell and Reading, many locals have taken to social media groups to warn people to be vigilant.

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Reports include some recent incidents in Bracknell, where residents have said groups of people have arrived at popular dog walking spots with cages in vans, dispersing in different directions and attempting to get the attention of dogs nearby.

A resident of Reading recently warned dog owners on social media of similar incidents, stating: “Look out for a white van – seen locally – men with leads and whistles trying to steal dogs!

“Be alert and report to police.”

It follows a series of similar stories circulating on social media, as well as reports of dogs being taken.

A heartbroken owner recently appealed to the public after her dog went missing from Three Mile Cross.

Poppy, the 15-month-old female dog, went missing on July 2, from the family home in East Sussex Mobile Homes, Three Mile Cross.

Just two weeks ago, another devastated dog owner appealed for help to find black German Shepherd Wolfie, who is thought to have been stolen from Twyford

Speaking about the suspicious behaviour in Bracknell, Thames Valley Police said last week: “We did receive a report of some suspicious circumstances in Cabbage Hill, Bracknell on Monday at about 7.20pm.

“An officer will look into the incident to try to establish if any crime has been committed.”

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People have also been using social media to share tips on keeping dogs safe, including:

  • Keep dogs distracted by interacting with them– this can prevent your dog from running away or and wandering off
  • Keep your dog in sight at all times and don’t let them disappear into corners where you can’t see or hedgerows
  • Don’t let your dog off the lead if they don’t listen to you – if your dog doesn’t respond to you calling their name then it’s best to be safe and keep them on a long leash
  • Purchase a long extendable leash so they can still run but are always within your reach
  • Be ready to act – if you notice something that makes you feel uneasy, it’s better to be safe than sorry and turn the other way.
  • Try and visit parks at a busier time. If you walk your dog late at night, you’ll more than likely be alone and at risk of danger
  • If your dog is anxious and doesn’t like other dogs, you can purchase visible reflective leads and harnesses to warn other dog owners not to approach your dog

Reading Chronicle