Theft of a Working Cocker Spaniel Named Pip
In 2020, I commenced an investigation into the theft of a little cocker spaniel called Pip. Stolen from a livery yard in Sussex. Over the next 12 months, I worked with the owner until eventually we had a breakthrough and Pip was located and recovered, but after all the excitement of the reunion died down, we discovered that not only had Pip had a litter of puppies, but her microchip had been removed.
Criminals are Removing Microchips?
Sadly, it’s becoming common practice among dog thieves to damage or remove a dog’s microchip and replace it with a new one, effectively giving that dog a new identity. It’s a practice that’s known as FLIPPING. With the new identity, the dog will be sold to an unsuspecting buyer, shipped abroad, or traded to an illegal dog breeder. And in most cases, the owner of the dog will never see their dog again.
How to you Prevent your Dog’s Identity being Changed (Flipped)
So, if disaster does strike and your dog is snatched. How do you ensure that its identity is not FLIPPED? Well, there’s a forensic science company based near Oxford called Cellmark that may have the answer to that question. They have introduced a National Forensic Dog DNA database.
I interviewed David Hartshorne, the Managing Director of Cellmark services, and this is what he had to say.
We know that DNA is present in all living animals. And just as we use it for identifying humans, it can allow us to provide the ultimate identification system for dogs. Unlike the microchip or any other form of identification which could be lost or could be changed. DNA is with the dog for life, and it is nature’s ultimate identification system, which means that we can differentiate one dog from another.
How do you get your Dog’s DNA on the Database?
Getting your dog’s DNA onto the database is a very simple procedure. All you need to do is to acquire one of their kits from their website dnaprotected.co.uk follow the instructions in taking a mouth swab from your dog’s cheek. Package everything up and then post the sample back to Cellmark and in no time at all they will be back in touch to inform you that your dog’s DNA is now on their National Forensic Dog DNA Database.
Once on the database your dog can also wear a bright Orange and white disc on its collar alerting would be thieves that your dog is on the DNA database which may well prevent your dog from being stolen.
If you want to find out more about this amazing scheme, then follow the link to our short video which you will find on our YouTube channel.
Colin J Butcher
Leading Expert in the Recovery of Stolen and Missing Pets