British police force using dog DNA to tackle pet thefts
The Gloucestershire Constabulary says it’s the first police force in the world to use dog DNA to help investigate stolen dogs
By Suzie Ziegler
GLOUCESTER, England — A police force in England says it’s the first in the world to use canine DNA to investigate missing or stolen dogs.
The service sells at-home lab kits for dog owners who want to proactively protect their furriest family member. Owners can purchase the kits for £62.49 (about $87 U.S. dollars), swab their pooch’s mouth and return the sample by mail. The kits are available online, but the constabulary says it will soon carry the product in their community engagement vehicles.
“There has been a national rise in dog thefts since the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic and I am hopeful that this initiative will help to reassure owners and protect the dogs of Gloucestershire,” said Temporary Chief Inspector Emma MacDonald in a statement last week. “Dog theft can have a massive impact on the owner and their families as dogs are often seen as family members.”
MacDonald says police are leading by example, starting with their own K-9s.
"All of our police dogs have been profiled and given new Velcro patches for their harnesses which shows our confidence in the scheme,” MacDonald said.
"Gloucestershire Constabulary's Forensic Services department is very proud to be part of this ground-breaking initiative,” said Chris Allen, the force’s head of forensic services. “I am confident that DNA Protected will greatly assist police in reducing the heartbreaking crime of dog theft and reuniting pets with their owners in the future."
We are the world's first police force to use DNA to tackle dog thefts.— Glos Police (@Glos_Police) June 23, 2021
DNA Protected uses state-of-the-art techniques to analyse the DNA profiles of dogs.
Owners can swab their dog’s DNA & have it stored on a canine database in case their pet is stolen.https://t.co/LV4348JG0V pic.twitter.com/KLV9G2Dy1Y
Join @GlosPolDogs in signing up to the @DnaProtected scheme.— Glos Police (@Glos_Police) June 23, 2021
The dog DNA database is the first of its kind and greatly increases the chances of being reunited with your dog if it's stolen.
For more info: https://t.co/9AqAlE9XLy pic.twitter.com/ksjLcpW2Pk