Picture: Chief Inspector Amy Style-Jones
A police force is the first to appoint a specialist “dog detective” after a national rise in pet thefts.
Chief Inspector Amy Style-Jones will be the “long arm of the paw” in Nottinghamshire.
Ms Style-Jones – who has three chihuahuas Tink, Jasper and Josie – said:
“As an animal lover I relish the prospect of ensuring we take a compassionate response to dog theft and animal cruelty.”
Nottinghamshire Chief Constable Craig Guildford said:
“I want to send a clear message to those who seek to carry out this cold-hearted crime that it will not be tolerated – we will come after you.”
Dognapping has risen over the last year of lockdown.
It is estimated more than three million pets have been bought to ease the loneliness of the restrictions.
The demand has also seen a sharp increase in the price of pets.
Some dog breeds are fetching thousands of pounds.
They are easy prey for criminals to snatch and re-sell.
The demand for dogs has also seen a significant increase in bogus dealers taking hefty deposits off buyers and then disappearing.
Dogs Trust chief executive Owen Sharp said:
“Demand for dogs is at an all-time high and prices for some of the UK’s most desirable dog breeds are at their highest in three years.
“It is no wonder criminals are taking advantage of the situation.
“Current sentencing does little to deter thieves.
“Punishment is determined by the monetary value of the dog, meaning perpetrators are often given fines which do not reflect the emotional impact on the families involved.”