Dear Dog Lovers,
Thank you for visiting the Vets Get Scanning web site. I would like to explain what our aims are and how you could help us.
I know how lucky my daughter Debbie and her husband Richard are to have both dogs, Widget and Gizmo, back home after they were stolen in May 2006. This was purely because of the media coverage in the Daily Mirror, on the BBC News and especially on GMTV.
There are many loopholes that work against responsible dog owners and their microchipped pet. After a dog is stolen and having experienced this first hand, we know the changes that need to be made to the present system. You will only find out who is not scanning for microchips when you need it the most.
The aim of the Vets Get Scanning appeal is to get all Vets to adopt a practice policy where all dogs are routinely scanned for microchips on their first visit. When a dog is taken into the veterinary practice with an owner no check for microchips will be made. This means stolen dogs that are sold onto unsuspecting members of the public will not be scanned and the dog will not be returned to its rightful owner.
By starting Vets Get Scanning we feel this is a positive step to help the many people still looking for their microchipped stolen/missing dogs. We believe the whole microchipping system in place today needs updating to help protect our dogs. It’s not only vets, we want rescues, councils and highway agencies to be scanning all dogs for microchips and with the recent stories of Tinkerbell and Borris ownership issues are now a priority!
We need your help:
- Please talk to your vet and send us your feedback
- Contact your MP
- Remember, Dog Theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in our country. Be extra vigilant with your dog: we don’t want you to become another statistic!
We are currently talking to The British Veterinary Association – We will let you know what transpires.
Thank you for taking the time to visit our site and we do hope we can count on your support for this appeal. Vets Get Scanning seems like a simple solution to a growing problem and it really is! It doesn’t solve all the problems surrounding dog theft but it’s a start!
With all good wishes
Sir Bruce Forsyth CBE
Bruce’s Vet replied:
Dear Bruce and Debbie,
Many thanks for the letter ‘Vets Get Scanning’.
It is written in our practice policy handbook that all new dogs and cats be scanned during their first visit to Runnymede. I will take time to remind all vets of protocol at this months practice meeting.
This protocol was in place when I joined the practice 2+1/2 years ago. I am unsure how long prior to this it was instigated. There may be older dogs on our books that have not been scanned.
It’s something I will give some thought to. I did like Brendans (Debbie’ Vet) idea of receptionists and nurses performing the scanning in the waiting room.
Good luck with the campaign.
Andy Wyles BVMS MRCVS.
Clinical Manager RHVH Egham.
Runnymede Hill Veterinary Hospital.
We will let you know if they start scanning dogs which have missed the initial first visit scan.
Pictured: Sir Bruce Forsyth with daughter Debbie, son in law Richard Matthews and of course Gizmo and Widget, who were stolen and reunited in May 2006 and the reason the appeal to Get Vets Scanning was started.
Dog theft reports rise 22% in two years in England and Wales 23rd June 2016
More than 5,000 dogs have been reported stolen to police forces in England and Wales since the start of 2013, a BBC investigation has found.
Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show a 22.3% rise in reports in two years.
Gareth Johnson, a Conservative MP in Kent, has called for a specific crime of pet theft to be introduced.
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said courts were told to account for emotional distress.
Figures from police forces who replied to the BBC’s request show at least 5,288 dogs reported stolen since 2013.
They indicate 1,490 taken in 2013, 1,599 in 2014 and 1,776 in 2015. In the first four months of this year, there were a reported 423 thefts.
Some forces reported the theft of several dogs at the same time as a single offence.
Thieves target Staffordshire bull terriers and tiny toy-designer breeds, like miniature French bulldogs, and pugs, popular with celebrities, the figures suggest.
Nik Oakley, from Dog Lost – which reunites lost and stolen dogs with their owners – said gun dogs such as Labradors, cocker spaniels, and springer spaniels were being taken for working purposes and illicit breeding.
Anna Rigano, from Forest Row in East Sussex, had her Jack Russell, Buster, stolen in March.
“I went to the field with some friends… I let him loose because I felt confident and he knew the area, and he never really goes away from me for very long.
“I started calling him and he didn’t come to me, I think he was picked up because he was such a friendly dog and I’ve never found a body,” she said.
Vet Louise Marsh, from Woking in Surrey, was reunited with her pet dog Toby after he was stolen from her street in 2014, and later dumped in a field in Kent.
The Border Terrier was discovered following a high profile social media appeal supported by the tennis player, Andy Murray, and the band, One Direction.
Ms Marsh said some were stolen because they were worth a lot of money for breeding.
“A British bulldog, for example, you can get £1,800 for a puppy.
“So if you can get hold of a British bulldog bitch, and get her pregnant, you’re looking at thousands of pounds worth of puppies,” she said.
It is a legal requirement for all dogs to be micro-chipped but vets do not have to routinely scan new dogs brought into their surgeries.
“Many dogs may stay lost or stolen until they actually get scanned by somebody,” said Ms Oakley.
“We want it to be compulsory to all vets, local authorities, rescuers, to scan every dog that goes past them,” she said.
Gareth Johnson, the MP for Dartford, wants the government to recognise the growing problem of dog thefts and the effect they can have on owners.
Mr Johnson said stealing a dog was currently deemed no more serious than stealing other possessions.
“It would be good to have a specific offence of the theft of a pet.
“Too often, the theft of a dog is treated in the same way as the theft of a laptop or a mobile phone,” he said.
Ms Oakley added that Dog Lost would like to see custodial sentences.
The Ministry of Justice said: “We are aware of the distress the disappearance of a pet can cause, especially if there are suspicions it has been stolen.
“The maximum penalty for theft is seven years imprisonment and there are no plans to change this.
“The independent Sentencing Council recently issued revised guidelines for dealing with theft which make clear courts should take into account the emotional distress.”
There was a 74% increase in Dog Theft in London according to statistics released by the Metropolitan Police in February 2007 and is still one of the biggest growing crimes in the UK.
BBC News UK reported on the 2nd December 2011 that stolen dog numbers were on the increase again and has doubled in the last year.
All dogs are at risk; all sizes, breeds and ages are being stolen from cars, gardens, tied up outside shops or even when being walked in a park.
Vets are the missing link and both dogs and their owners need help in halting this heart breaking crime. It is a fact that stolen microchipped dogs are being sold to the unsuspecting public and Vets are the only hope of these dogs getting back home.
We also recognise that:-
Not all Dog Rescues scan for microchips before re-homing.
Highway Agencies do not all scan for microchips when removing deceased dogs.
Council Dog Pounds do not all scan for microchips dogs on death row before selling dogs on or putting them to sleep.
Microchipping is unregulated and huge loop holes have appeared in this industry.
We can find no valid reason why Vets are not scanning and we are asking them to help. Responsible pet owners are microchipping their pets believing that a full reunification service is in place. The present system only works for stray pets or pet’s involved in an accident needing emergency treatment when no owner is present.
The microchip becomes useless for stolen dogs that have been sold on, as once a dog enters a veterinary practice with a collar and lead on attached to a new owner no check will be made.