The worrying increase in dog thefts has been highlighted once again after Nottinghamshire Police officers rescued almost a dozen severely dehydrated puppies concealed in plastic bags.
Officers found the close-to-death puppies as they searched the back of a van.
Officers were called to a house in Apple Walk, Carlton, around 6 pm on Tuesday after a member of the public reported a foul smell coming from a property.
When officers arrived at the address, they were confronted with a vile and disgusting scene of dog waste strewn across bedrooms floors.
But there was no sign of the dogs.
Further searches led officers to a van parked nearby in Farndon Mews.
The van’s windows were all steamed up, and officers could see movement in a bag in the rear passenger seat.
Officers broke into the vehicle and found a total of eleven puppies kept in small cages and bags.
Six of the animals were crammed into a guinea pig cage.
A 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft and fraud.
Chris Pearson, Neighbourhood Inspector for Gedling, said:
“The puppies located inside the van were in an appalling state and were visibly distressed.
“We made sure they got the instant care they needed overnight and we’re now conducting a joint investigation with the RSPCA.
“We are continuing to carry out a number of enquiries and are determined to uncover what has been happening at this house and establish where the animals have come from.
“My team acted quickly having suspected something wasn’t right after arresting a man at the scene. Without their diligence and quick thinking, the puppies might not have been located in time.”
Emma Foody, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, said:
“This is a shocking example of callous individuals using animals for their own ends. There is no consideration for the health, wellbeing and safety of the animals concerned, and in my view it’s time to get tough on those who seek to steal, exploit and ill-treat dogs and indeed any animal.
“We need confidence that those responsible will receive appropriate sanctions. Dog theft, for many is akin to the theft of a family member which is why we are doing everything we can to help people protect their dogs and prevent dreadful incidents like this. I hope people will complete our survey which will give strength to our campaign.”
The animals were immediately taken to the local People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) team before the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) could be contacted this morning.
A man remains in custody and officers are appealing to anyone who might recognise the animals or who may have any information that could help, to contact 101 quoting incident 586 of 2 March.
Alternatively, people can call Crimestoppers completely anonymously on 0800 555 111.
An online petition that has called for the government to introduce a specific offence of ‘dog theft’ has now attracted nearly 250k signatures.
The petition’s sponsor said: ‘The Government should create a specific offence for dog theft, with 8 years minimum sentencing and a fine of at least £5,000. Dogs are like members of the family to many people and current laws do not reflect this. Dogs are a support network for so many, a family member, a lifeline’.
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