Avon & Somerset doggy database
During 2020, with the pandemic raging, there were over 2,000 incidents of dog thefts in England and Wales. It is a crime that central government have been looking at, without much success. Since 2010, microchipping has been mandatory for dogs. The licensing system for dog breeding and pet sales has been modernised. And yet incidents of dog theft keep rising.
Avon & Somerset Police are now borrowing an initiative from neighbours in Gloucestershire Police. This is the creation of a database for dogs. The idea is simple (but not cheap!). You buy a DNA kit, swab your dog, and send the results in. They will then be recorded on a DNA Protected national database for dogs.
If a suspected stolen dog is found by the Police they can check the dog against the DNA database.
Avon and Somerset Police’s lead for dog theft, PC Natalie Cosgrove, said: “People’s dogs are part of their family and we understand how distressing it is when pets are lost or stolen. The benefit of this approach is that the dog’s own DNA is the identifying factor, and this cannot be removed or altered.“
The emergency services are getting involved too. Some fire service dogs as well as the wellbeing dogs who are used by police officers have been swabbed.
From this Saturday (11 June) members of the public will be able to buy a DNA testing kit. The kits are available for £74.99 from https://www.dnaprotected.co.uk/. The scheme is managed by Cellmark Forensic Services.
Police are running three roadshows to demonstrate the idea to the public. They will run from 10am until 4pm at:
- Patchway Police Centre, Tuesday 19 July
- Bridgwater Police Centre, Wednesday10 August
- Weston-super-Mare Town Hall Police Station, Friday 19 August
Anyone attending one of the events apparently get a discount on the testing packs. But no-one was able to tell us how much the discount was.