Dog thieves watch out! New app to track dog’s noses could destroy pet-stealing criminals

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Smart Snout is a platform uses dogs’ noses in the same way police may use fingerprints. In fact, the idea was thought up when the business’s creator, Bradley Watson was watching a TV copper show. Much like a human fingerprint, every dog has a distinctive pattern on its nose, along with unique nose openings, that differentiate it from any other pup. This is a brand-new way to keep tabs on your pets.

Right now, dog owners can receive a fine of up to £500 if they do not get their dogs microchipped by a trained professional.

When microchipped, dogs are given numbers which show up when scanned.

But the new app could potentially see this rule scrapped if it catches on.

The app is free to download but costs £4.99 annually if you want to register your dog’s details.

Once the app is downloaded, users are asked to share some information about their dogs, like the breed and colour.

Then, users must upload a picture of their dog’s nose.

If a dog was then lost or stolen and then re-found, scanning the canine’s nose would reveal its identity.

Once this happens, the owner gets notified and can hopefully be reunited with their dog.

While Smart Snout was launched just eight weeks ago, it has already racked up an impressive 2,000 subscribers and even more downloads.

The company is also aiming to collaborate with police forces to back it in a bid to further deter criminals.

This comes as a worrying amount of dog theft has been on the rise in the UK.

During lockdown, cases of theft soared, which prompted and the Government set up a pet theft task force.

And animal rights groups have been pressing the government to slap down harsher sentences on “dognappers”.

RSPCA’s Chris Sherwood told the BBC: ‘We hope this will encourage courts to hand out much tougher sentences to pet thieves.”

Smart Snout founder Bradley Watson said the new app is a much better way to keep track of dogs than the current method, and added that it could even deter thieves.

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He said: ”It’s working really well, and we’re hoping, if we can get enough bodies on board. There’s no way it can be beaten, unlike the chip – which is just cut out.

“I’ve been watching the growth of dog thefts, and I’ve witnessed it first-hand from customers.

“From start of life to death, a dog’s biometrics on its nose doesn’t change – that’s where [the idea] came from.”

Mr Watson has even got an ex-policeman on board, Phil James, who has made it a habit to locate missing dogs using a drone in Nottingham.

Mr James said: “My day job is flying drones. But, in my spare time, I find people’s missing dogs in Nottingham.

“I love the concept (of Smart Snout). My main aim is to get rid of microchipping. People find it quite intrusive.”

The Government task force is now in the process of making it a new criminal offence to crack down on dog thieves.

The dog abduction offence, announced in September by Defra is set to be added to the Kept Animals Bill, which protects pets, livestock and wild animals.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “The loss of a much-loved pet causes unique distress. I am pleased that we are legislating to recognise this specific crime.

“The new dog abduction offence will reflect the impact on animals in penalties for criminals, and deliver justice for victims.”

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