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New app launched to combat dog theft

On Howl, users can privately store information on their dog so that in the event of a theft, they can get the word out as soon as possible along with details on the exact location and time of the theft and any footage caught by the Howl app

Former criminal defence lawyer Sara Burney has launched a new dog theft prevention app – Howl.

On Howl, users can privately store information on their dog so that in the event of a theft, they can get the word out as soon as possible along with details on the exact location and time of the theft and any footage caught by the Howl app.

During an active walk, Howl will check location and status approximately every 10 to 20 seconds and will relay it to a chosen emergency contact – and only they can access this information through a shareable link. If the worst happens, dog owners can tap a button that blares out an alarm and immediately starts recording to enable them to capture footage of any theft.

Research conducted by Direct Line Insurance has revealed that 2,438 dogs were stolen from their owners in 2020 – around 7 per day with a staggering 98% of offences not resulting in prosecution.

Burney said: “Such a small percentage of dogs are actually found after being stolen, and the ones that are found are usually changed forever. They’ll rush their food because they are starving, and loving dogs become frightened of people and lose their sunny personalities.

“If I’ve learned anything from my time as a criminal defence lawyer it’s that every thief thinks they won’t get caught. If you make it easier to catch them they run for the hills.”

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