Suffolk: Microchipping will help reduce number of pets not recovered after being stolen
Only 20% of domestic pets reported stolen in Suffolk over the past four years were ever recovered, according to police figures.
And out of a total of 116 crimes since April 1, 2009 there were 102 cases where no one was caught.
The response to a Freedom of Information request submitted to Suffolk Constabulary included data for the thefts of cats, dogs, budgies, canaries, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, lizards, rabbits, snakes, spiders and tortoises.
However the number of reported incidents for the year to October 31, 2013 has dropped to 19, compared to 28 in the previous 12 months.
A spokesman for Suffolk police said: “We understand that it is upsetting to lose a pet or have it stolen and where there is evidence that a theft has occurred we will do all we can to recover the animal and reunite it with its rightful owner.
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“This is not always an easy task but residents can help by doing such things as keeping clear photos of their pets from front and side views and ensuring that their pets are micro-chipped.”
This was echoed by a spokesman for the RSPCA who said they would always advise owners to microchip pets as well as making sure any pets which live outside are secure and can’t escape the property.
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And David Mitchell, animal centre manager at the RSPCA’s Suffolk East and Ipswich branch, said: “Losing a much loved pet is a heartbreaking experience. Many animals get lost or are stolen every year so microchipping is the answer to ensuring your lost pet can make its way back home.
“Here at the RSPCA Martlesham animal centre we only charge £10 to have your animal chipped. Microchipping is a very quick procedure and involves a small injection into the scruff of the neck to insert the chip.
“The unique number is then registered on a national database and any animal found by the police, by dog wardens or straying will be scanned for a chip.
“The unique number will register to your address so you will soon be reunited with your pet.”