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More forces use DNA to tackle dog theft

Following on from Gloucestershire’s ‘world-first’ DNA dog database, Dyfed-Powys is also now introducing a DNA Protected Service.

Launched within the force area today, the DNA Protected scheme, attached to Cellmark Forensic Services, is centred around storing dogs’ DNA profiles on a national database. 

Owners can buy the testing kit for £74.99 in order to swab their pets and submit their dog’s profile to be stored on the centralised database. 

The service uses a DNA marker system which will make it easier for lost or stolen dogs to be returned to their rightful owners. 

The kits also come with house stickers and collar tags which owners are encouraged to use as deterrents . 

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Cockwell said: “A pet dog is considered a member of the family and we understand how distressing it is when pets are lost or stolen.

"Each reported dog theft is taken very seriously, and the DNA Protected service will assist in reuniting stolen and lost dogs with their owners and assist in the detection of this type of crime." 

Gloucestershire was the first force to launch the initiative but others, including Avon and Somerset and Surrey, have since done the same. 

A Pet Theft Taskforce report published last September indicated that the risk of falling victim to dog theft remains low - with around 2,000 incidents reported across England and Wales in 2020 compared with an estimated 9.6 million dogs in the UK. 

However, in November last year, a new ‘dog abduction offence’ was added to the Kept Animals Bill following a recommendation from the Taskforce. 

The offence carries with it a maximum sentence of five years where previously such crimes would have come under loss of property. 

The Bill is currently working its way through the House of Commons. 

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