Police dismiss fears of dognapping in St Albans area

Hertfordshire Constabulary

Hertfordshire Constabulary - Credit: Archant

Myths surrounding the theft or attempted theft of dogs circulating on social media have been debunked by police in a Neighbourhood Watch email.

The OWL messaging service which goes to areas in the district with a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in operation, carries an assurance that social media stories regarding dog thefts have no substance.

PCSO Lewis Griffiths highlighted the issue when he said he understood that there were stories about abduction or attempted abductions of dogs in the St Albans area circulating on social media.

He had seen a story along the lines of men in a 4x4 vehicle stealing dogs and warning readers not to walk dogs alone.

He went on: “Please let me reassure you that as far as I am aware there is no such issue within St Albans and as an avid dog lover myself, please don’t be afraid of walking your dogs.”

But he pointed out that police always encouraged members of the public to walk dogs safely, wearing high visibility clothing if out at night.

Stressing that nobody should ever be afraid to walk their dog, he pointed out the danger of just one member of the public posting a hoax story on social media which could result in the story reaching ‘hundreds or thousands of people within a very short time frame’.

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PCSO Lewis urged people to go to the police official website, Facebook or Twitter pages or OWL messages for factual information.