A police force has developed what is believed to be the world’s first dog DNA database to tackle dog thefts.
BBC News reports that Gloucestershire Police worked with human DNA profiling organisation Cellmark to develop a dog DNA marker system to help solve criminal cases.
The force took on the new measure following a dramatic increase in dog thefts during the pandemic.
Chief Inspector Emma MacDonald said it would help “frightened” owners find their pets again.
Gloucestershire Police said dog and puppy thefts had been on the rise because of demand pushing up prices during the lockdown.
To tackle the issue, it said pet owners could register their dogs on to the database.
Ms MacDonald said: “Our forensic department started to work with Cellmark, a DNA profiling for humans organisation, back in December last year to scope the possibility of making a doggy DNA database.”
‘DNA is unique’
She said when the database is up and running police would be able to differentiate between puppies, identify individual animals in a litter.
“Often the pet thieves are registering those dogs to a mobile number that doesn’t exist, or to themselves which means when they’re recovered by the police from a location, it’s very difficult to reunite that pet with its owner because its then registered to somebody completely different,” Ms MacDonald said.
“A microchip can be changed or removed from a dog but the DNA cannot be changed or altered, it is unique to that pet.
“People are frightened and people love their pets and we as a constabulary recognise them as being part of the family.”
(Story source: BBC News)