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This year is the third Dog Theft Awareness Day on 14 March 2019, and to mark it dog lovers gathered on Portobello Beach last weekend.

Georgie and Ed Bell and their daughters owned two Border terrier bitches which were stolen on 28 December 2018. They have been publicising the theft since then using social media but the dogs remain missing from their home in Jedburgh.

Dog lovers met on Portobello beach last weekend to highlight that Ruby and Beetle are still missing.

On Sunday the gathering at Portobello was one of four with others held at Bamburgh Beach, Gravesend and Pontefract. The hope is that someone somewhere might come forward with information to help find the two dogs.

Georgie Bell said : ‘We are devastated to lose Ruby and Beetle and pray every day that they will be found.  The support we have received to date has been fantastic and we have a £5,000 reward for any information which leads to finding the dogs.  Someone, somewhere must know something, and I beg them to get in touch with me.  I am quite literally staggered by the amount of dogs which are stolen on a weekly basis but I will not give up hope that our dogs will be returned to us.”

Doglost say that more than 60 dogs are stolen in the UK each week from gardens, houses, parks, cars and outside shops. Designer toy breeds and gun dogs are said to be particular targets.

Even though it is obligatory to microchip a dog there is no obligation on a vet to check the information when a dog comes to them, and campaigners want that to change.

Last year Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (SAMPA) began a petition to demand that pet theft is reclassified as a crime. There is now a draft bill before Parliament but despite its introduction last July it has yet to have a second reading, and no date is set for that.

A vigil was also held at Bamburgh Castle.