Thieves have stolen from gardens, broken into homes and even threatened owners before stealing much-loved pets.
Others have posed as RSPCA officers, with official-looking vans, or vets, to try to scam dog walkers into giving up their animals.
A major factor, it is believed, is that dog ownership has increased during the coronavirus pandemic for the last year and the price of pups has excalated significantly.
Town dog owner, Matthew O’Callaghan, is setting up the group, which he thinks is one of the first such organisations in the country, to bring together owners and share information about thefts, suspicious activity and advice on keeping pets safe and secure.
Matthew told the Melton Times: “I think it’s time to do something ourselves to combat the rise in theft of dogs.
“Obviously it’s about not leaving a dog unattended in the garden and to make sure all fences and gates are secure.
“When going out,…