MORE than 70 dogs worth tens of thousands of pounds were recovered in police raids in South Wales at the weekend – all of which are suspected to have been stolen.
Following a joint operation between South Wales Police and Dyfed Powys Police on Saturday and Sunday, between 70 and 80 dogs and puppies were located in Briton Ferry, and at an address in Carmarthenshire.
Superintendent Cath Larkman from South Wales Police said: “It needs to be borne in mind that these dogs are not merely items of financial value, these are living creatures who feel pain and suffering and loss at being stolen and they are much loved family members in many instances.
“One of the stolen dogs that was recovered at Briton Ferry fell into the water in panic at being released and had to be rescued by a police officer to prevent it drowning.
“We are pleased these dogs are back with their owners. As a police service, we take this criminality very seriously and our investigations are ongoing. We are grateful for the assistance of the public for their support with this investigation.”
Dyfed Powys Police detective inspector Barry Kelly explained how they were alerted to the property by a dog owner who had five bitches and 17 puppies stolen on Friday, January 22.
He said: “On attendance, officers found a number of dogs, some of which have been identified through microchips.
“We estimate there to have been 70 to 80 dogs at the property, with the total value reaching tens of thousands of pounds.
“We have animal welfare officers, local authority staff and South Wales Police officers at the property today who are making their way through the whole site scanning the dogs.
“The problem we have is that the puppies won’t have been chipped, so unless they are feeding from the mother dog while we are there, it will be very difficult to trace their owners.”
One person has been arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods at the Carmarthenshire property and is in police custody. Enquiries and the investigation by both forces are still ongoing.
DI Kelly said: “We have had seven crimes reported to us in respect of dog thefts in the past six months. The officers in case will review these investigations and re-engage with the victims. As and when we find any link with dogs recovered from the two sites, we will be in contact with the potential owners.
“Although we have made an arrest, our enquiries are still at an early stage, and we would like to hear from anyone with information that might assist us.
“We also urge dog owners – particularly breeders – to be vigilant and take all possible steps to ensure their animals are secure. A number of dogs stolen in just one incident reported to us were estimated to be worth around £40,000, which goes to show these are incredibly high value thefts.”
Anyone with information should contact Dyfed Powys Police through: