Dog owners warned over increase in canine thefts.
The website DogLost UK ( which seeks to reunite owners with their stolen or missing pets ( has launched a national campaign because of what it claims is a fourfold increase in dog thefts in 12 months.
A number of MPs have signed a House of Commons Early Day motion giving their backing to the website's Dog Theft Action lobby group and efforts to highlight what is believed to be an organised trade in stolen dogs.
Yesterday it was revealed that of the 20 latest stolen or missing dogs posted on the www.DogLost.co.uk website, five are from the North-East. They include a Border terrier which went missing from its owner's garden in Gosforth, Newcastle, a Jack Russell missing from Gateshead and an English springer spaniel which went missing in Northumberland.
Yesterday Jane Hayes, founder of DogLost UK, said: "There has been a massive increase in the number of dogs being stolen in various parts of the country and our latest list of stolen and missing dogs includes five with an NE postcode.
"Many are taken by opportunist drug addicts who can sell them for between pounds 30 and pounds 50 in a pub, telling people they will have to have the dog put down otherwise. The North-East used to be a pretty safe area but we are getting more and more reports of stolen and missing dogs from there now. We are now getting two million hits a month on the website because of this growing problem."
Unemployed Andrew Wood, 30, of Redhouse Farm, Gosforth, is using DogLost UK in a bid to trace his two-year-old Border terrier bitch Joss who went missing from his garden last week.
Yesterday Mr Wood said: "I think someone has come along and stolen her because she never goes more than a few yards. I have another dog, Jazz, who also went missing at the same time but came back puffing and panting, so I think she got away. I firmly believe Joss has been stolen because no-one has seen her and she wouldn't just disappear."