Fears over dog thieves on the prowl around Horsham

Pet owners are issuing warnings after a Jack Russell was stolen from a village on the edge of the district. And people in Kirdford, Pulborough and Billingshurst are reporting ‘suspicious activities’ with men in a truck trawling the area. People are being warned to keep their dogs on leads.

And the RSPCA is urging people to report any incidents to police. A spokesperson said: “It’s really concerning to see how many dogs are being stolen each year and we’d urge anyone who believed their pooch has been taken to report the incident to police immediately. “As an animal welfare charity the RSPCA doesn’t deal directly with pet theft – leaving criminal matters such as this to the expertise of police – but we believe the rise in dognapping could be as a result of the surging popularity, and value, of certain ‘designer’ breeds and fashionable crossbreeds.

“We’d urge all dog owners to take extra precautions to protect their pets from thieves by neutering them, ensuring they are microchipped with up-to-date contact details registered, ensuring they wear a collar with contact details embroidered or an engraved ID tag. “We’d also advise that owners never leave their pets tied up outside shops or alone in cars, ensure their gardens are secure with gates locked, and ensure their pet has a good recall and doesn’t stray too far when off-lead on walks. “Anyone who suspects their dog may have been stolen should immediately alert police, contact their microchip company to register their pet as stolen and inform local rescue groups, vets, dog walkers and neighbours.”

The alert was sounded after a woman in Cranleigh reported that her Jack Russell was spottedgetting in a silver Mercedes saloon.

Other people have said men have been seen with dog leads touring the district in a pick-up truck.