back to article Daily Mail savages Data Protection Act over stolen dog

The Daily Mail is laying into the Data Protection Act again, this time accusing the legislation of keeping a stolen dog from its rightful owner. Dave Moorhouse claims his dog, which had been implanted with an identity chip, was stolen in 2007, but that he recently received a letter from Animal Care (which manages the pooch ID …


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  1. Steve 13

    police stance

    The normal stance that the police take on this matter (according to numerous posts by people who've had their dogs stolen) is that it's a civil matter and they won't get involved.

    Of course without the police's assistance, and without the address where the dog is being held, it's then impossible to take civil action as well. (Not that you should have to, a dog is property, if it's reported stolen then the police should investigate).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The police would say that, wouldn't they

      They don't want unsolved crimes on their books making their statistics look bad. They won't even record an attempted murder if they think they can get away with it. You have to insist on them giving you a crime number. Telling them you need it for the insurance works sometimes, apparently, because it shows them you have a financial incentive and therefore probably won't give up so quickly. Taking a laptop and a big pile of papers with you to the waiting room helps, too, I'm told, as it shows that you are prepared to wait.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't have done him any good

    Reporting the theft? He had no way of knowing if his dog had simply gone walkabout or not. The police wouldn't have had anything to go on so reporting his missing dog probably wouldn't have helped.

    1. Gonce

      He'd have his dog now if he'd reported it

      If the guy had reported his dog lost/stolen at the time he would probably have it back by now rather than the police sitting in their office trying to decide who the rightful owner is.

      If I suspect something has been stolen reporting it doesn't necessarily mean the police will investigate or even know where to start a search for my property. It does however increase the chances of me getting my property back if it is ever found either as a result of my reporting of it stolen, or any other unrelated police activity that happens to turn it up.

      1. Cazzo Enorme

        Re: Gonce

        "If the guy had reported his dog lost/stolen at the time he would probably have it back by now rather than the police sitting in their office trying to decide who the rightful owner is."

        No, he wouldn't. As pointed out by the first commentard, the police would have refused to record the missing dog as stolen until evidence of theft was provided. I was in a similar position with regard to a fraudulent credit card application in my name. It was flagged up as dodgy by the credit card company, and I was notified by letter. I went to the police, who said that as the card never reached the fraudster it wasn't a crime. I couldn't find out any more information from the credit card company about how the fraudulent application had been made, because of the Data Protection Act. I'm now up to three fraudulent applications, and no wiser as to who is behind them.

    2. Adam Williamson 1

      Not the way he tells it.

      "Reporting the theft? He had no way of knowing if his dog had simply gone walkabout or not."

      That's not how he tells it in the story. (After all, if he were to take that tack, he can't claim the animal has been stolen *now*, because if it just ran away and someone else adopted it, that ain't theft, now is it?) He says he knows the dog was stolen because he left it on a leash.

      Try reading the thing before you criticize.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    daily !*&ing mail

    The daily mail (and it's readership that lap up this rubbish) are so stupid it beggars belief.

    They love all these stories that apparently show the victims of crime punished by the law rather than the criminals, but the fact is that in most cases the "victim" has actually committed a crime themselves (killing an empty-handed, alleged burglar for example) and is rightly charged.

    In this case the law has done it's job in protecting someone from possible vigilante justice from a man so stupid it took him 4 years to report a 'crime', if indeed the dog was ever stolen.

    1. fireant

      Be Fair!

      Come on! be fair! The Daily Mail was only concerned that the dog could have been stolen by an immigrant. This immigrant could potentially be here illegally. He could be taking up a job that an honest, hard working, god fearing, queen loving englishman deserves. He might also be illegally claiming unemployment, and disability benefit, and living in a 7 bedroom house given to him by the council! He could even be a terrorist!

      Data Protection Act? more like Terrorist Protection Act!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        They get their stories from...

        Clearly they get their stories from:

    2. Hud Dunlap

      Your comments are a joke right?

      " but the fact is that in most cases the "victim" has actually committed a crime themselves (killing an empty-handed, alleged burglar for example) and is rightly charged.

      an empty handed alleged burglar who wasn't supposed to be in the house. I guess he just dropped in to use the loo.

      Vigilance committees start when the police do not do their job and arrest the law abiding citizen instead.

      In the past the Police didn't like to get into missing dog cases is because ownership was hard to prove. The ID chip is proof.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "an empty handed alleged burglar who wasn't supposed to be in the house. I guess he just dropped in to use the loo."

        Don't I recall the Fail defending some bloke who shot at a youth who was on a public footpath near the old git's house? I seem to recall that they claimed he was justified in his actions because the old bastard had suffered at the hands of burglars before. So that's how it works is it? You've been robbed in the past so it's OK to take preemptive action against somebody who might be going to rob you.

        OK so maybe it wasn't the Fail. Maybe it was another extreme right wing rag, but the point still stands.

        "In the past the Police didn't like to get into missing dog cases is because ownership was hard to prove. The ID chip is proof."

        That's irrelevant and you know it, the bloke had the dog chipped. The bloke doesn't even claim he reported the "crime" at the time.

  4. DrXym Silver badge

    Daily Mail hypocrites

    For this story they're screeching that somebody can't get data. In this other story they're screeching that the DVLA is in "flagrant breach of data protection laws" -

    Basically the rag seems to exist to push the reactionary outrage button on closet facist readers. Any story regarding immigrants, council taxes, speed cameras is prime fodder to get the Daily Mail treatment which usually involves toploading the story with the outrage and then burying the mitigating / actual circumstances at the bottom.

    Another example of blatant hypocrisy in the Daily Mail - the UK version of the paper is campaigning that school girls should NOT get the "controversial" cervical cancer vaccine while the Irish Daily Mail is campaigning that school girls SHOULD get the vaccines.

    Such hypocrisy from a nasty close minded newspaper.

    1. max allan

      Oh really...

      "Basically the rag seems to exist to push the reactionary outrage button on closet facist readers."

      It's taken you how long to realise this????

      Why not post some more exciting comments :

      Grass is green

      Sky is blue

      Water is wet

      Fire is hot

      Of course you could jazz it up a bit :

      Basically fire seems to exist to push the thermal outlet button on combustible fuels.

      Basically the grass seems to exist to absorb the energy from the sun with clorophyll.


      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        A chorister's correct response to a preacher is "Amen", not "Fuck you, thickie".

  5. Paolo Marini

    totally agree

    try to report a theft to the police in this country, and they'll tell you "hey, it'll come back some day, so it's not *stolen*" (since the definition of stolen is that it's gone for good)... lucky bastards!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      maybe if it's missing

      but that somebody else has tried to change the dog's ownership details suggests that it hasn't just "wandered off".

      It should even be relatively easy to track down the person who has it, as they have provided all their details to try and take ownership.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    The Daily Mail reported it, so it's bollocks. The End.

  7. Jeremy 2

    Good ol' Daily Make It Up...

    Never letting common sense and due process get in the way of a good headline, huh?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yeah right

    So he's got a puppy that presumably costs a fair amount of money. He then spends more money getting it chipped. Then the dog is stolen. Being a dog lover we can be sure he was devastated by the theft. And of course he would be upset about the effective loss of the money he had invested in said hound. But he doesn't bother to report the theft? OK so he's a Fail reader so he's obvisouly a fuckwit, but even so this beggars belief.

    Why do I feel there is a lot more to this story than we are being told?

  9. Annihilator


    I honestly thought their readers would see through this story, but no, silly me. Top rated comment (with 223 votes):


    The worst rated comment (-15) is pointing out the man didn't report the dog stolen, could have sold it 3 years ago and changed their mind, can't prove the dog is his.

  10. Lottie


    it's in the mail. I bet they'll suggest it was an immigrant dog and job stealing homosexual who stole him.

    Damned data protection laws. Theyc an give you cancer you know!

  11. Anonymous Coward

    The Daily Fail...

    ...enriching pitchfork vendors and solicitors since 1789.

  12. chris 130

    You really think the police would actually do something anyhow?

    This is a case of file and forget for Mr Plod; there is zero chance of any action EVER being instigated, hence the tagging by owners.

    Personally I agree, the culprit should be visited and any demonstration of guilt should involve the full weight of the law, say picking up litter for a week then let off for good behaviour - the usual.

  13. Rogerborg

    Must be some new Act

    Because I'm quite familiar with the Data Protection Act 1998, and the relevant clause is section 29 (3)

    "Personal data are exempt from the non-disclosure provisions in any case in which—

    (a)the disclosure is for [the prevention or detection of crime]"

    I don't see the word "police" in there. Do you?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Missing the point

      You are missing the point here. "For the prevention or detection of crime." Who says a crime has even been committed? We only have one person's word for that.

      If just going round claiming, without evidence, that a crime was committed three years ago is enough to bypass the DPA then we'd all be doing it.

  14. Paul Dewey

    The chipping service

    Chances are the current keeper/thief took animal to the vet who tend to scan for these chips. This suggests the current keeper is caring and was probably sold this animal by some real scumbag who did steal it. So potentially some caring person is out of pocket and scumbab walks free

    1. Graham Marsden

      "potentially some caring person is out of pocket"

      Unfortunately that's what happens if you receive stolen goods. It doesn't matter whether you bought them in good faith, you have no legitimate title to them.

      1. Dave Bell

        Not so simple

        It's probably been changed, but it used to be that "open sale" did protect the purchaser. And that maybe goes back to medieval market charters. But you can still ask the wrong questions.

        It's a can of worms to feed the lawyers with.

  15. DaveDaveDave

    Missing the point

    Regardless of the sense or otherwise inherent in the decision not to release the information, the fact remains that the stance is simply wrong from a legal perspective. The dog owner was entitled to the information, and the cited reason for refusal was erroneous, The problem is nothing to do with a stolen dog, and everything to do with the widespread misapplication of the law to frustrate legitimate enquiries.

    1. Annihilator

      Who missed the point?

      How on earth is it a "legitimate enquiry"? You're just assuming the people who currently have the dog stole it based on his say so. It's just as likely he sold the dog and didn't tell the chipping agency. It's also just as likely that the dog chewed through its lead (or the guy didn't actually tie it up) and it ran away.

      The man is not entitled to this information, the police are. Anibase have said they'll release the information to the police, as they're bound to do, and the police have said they'll investigate if he asks them (he hasn't, he's just run to a paper).

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dog ownership

    I am a vet and it does sometimes happen I will detect a new client's dog that has already been id chipped. In fact it has happened to me a couple of weeks ago. If that happens we are allowed to break the client confidentiality and report this to the agency who holds the id chip record. This is the case because the person who brought the animal in possibly could not be the real owner. The agency then tries to resolve the problem and get the dog returned to the original owner. If the person who has the dog refuses to cooperate then the police has to get involved.

    The fact that the dog was not reported stolen is irrelevant as missing dogs do not have to be reported to the police. I presume if you are sure it was stolen, then you probably would report it.

    The whole point of the id chip is to be able to get your pet, who often is considered a family member, back if lost or stolen.

  17. Jeremy 2


    ...looking down the upper half of this thread, I take it that a Daily Fail reader/staffer ran down it -1'ing everyone who bitched about the poor excuse for a middle-class outrage rag, then?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Middle Class?

      No, you're missing the point of the Mail. It's for red top readers with social aspirations.

  18. John Savard Silver badge


    Killing an empty-handed alleged burglar is a crime? The police are highly-trained experts, and so they know how to deal with a criminal, who may possibly be armed, and capture him alive so that he can stand trial and be rehabilitated if found guilty. Ordinary citizens don't have that kind of specialized training, and so it's entirely reasonable for a private citizen who finds an intruder in his home at night to shoot at the first suspicious move. The fact that a burglar happens not to be armed should not matter, as one could be killed by an armed burglar if one were to take the time to determine that.

    1. Jim Morrow

      stop reading the daily heil!

      you need to stop believing the shit you read in the daily heil.

      the law already allows householders to use reasonable and proportionate measures to defend themselves and their property. shooting an unarmed burglar is neither reasonable or proportionate. but if you can convince a jury otherwise, you'll be found innocent, the context of this discussion was that nutter who got sent down for killing an unarmed burglar by shooting him in the back: clearly self-defence could not apply or reasonable behaviour to defend themselves. however the daily heil thought this was an outrage and influenced public opinion and politicians as only it can. ho hum.

      btw, how come the daily heil didn't work in an angle about house prices to this story about the dog and the data protection act? it must have made prices rocket or collapse.

  19. veti Silver badge

    Actually, the Mail is not the worst offender in this case

    You know, I really hate to be defending the Daily Mail...

    But at least their story mentions the fact that the owner hadn't reported the theft to the police. That alone makes the Mail's coverage fairer than the Telegraph's version:

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