Dog DNA service to help reunite stolen pets with their owners

A police force covering Mid Wales has become the first to introduce a DNA database service for dogs.

The DNA Protected Service was launched in Dyfed-Powys on Wednesday and involves a force tie up with Cellmark Forensic Services and has been designed to assist with crime prevention and help ensure that police can return lost or stolen dogs to their owners.

Dog owners can now buy a DNA testing kit to swab their dogs. Their dogs' DNA can then be recorded on a National DNA database for the animals.

Steve Cockwell, assistant chief constable at the force, said: “A pet dog is considered a member of the family and we understand how distressing it is when pets are lost or stolen.

"Each reported dog theft is taken very seriously, and the DNA Protected service will assist in reuniting stolen and lost dogs with their owners and assist in the detection of this type of crime”

The service, which was originally launched by Gloucestershire Police, uses a DNA marker system, that has been developed for forensic analysis, to help investigate criminal cases involving the theft of dogs.

Storing a dog’s DNA profile on a forensic dog DNA database will make it easily accessible to police forces and could help ensure a dog’s safe return if lost or stolen, say officers.

If a suspected lost or stolen dog is seized, their DNA can be checked, enabling officers to identify the rightful owner and return their pet.

The kits also come with house stickers and collar tags to act as a deterrent to would-be thieves.

David Hartshorne, managing director at Cellmark Forensic Services said: “We are delighted that Dyfed-Powys Police is joining the growing number of police forces using DNA Protected to help combat dog theft.

"Developed with the police, DNA Protected uses the power of forensic science to access nature’s unique identification system.

"A dog’s DNA code cannot be lost, altered or removed and will stay with the dog for life.”

The scheme is managed by Cellmark Forensic Services and the kits are available for £74.99.

The database is available for dog owners across the country to use.

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