Your story about dog thefts in Cambs appeals to vague authorities and a made-up premise

PUBLISHED: 16:07 27 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:07 27 October 2014

Regarding your recent story warning dog owners after reports of suspicious activity across Cambridgeshire - I am compelled to write my first ever letter of complaint to any newspaper.

The story talks of ‘a warning to dog owners’, using a police logo - the implication is clear.

Police have given no such warning - in fact, there is no warning given apart from by the article itself.

There is a vague allusion to chalk markings, saying that they are “prompting fears that his house, and his dog, had been marked out by potential thieves”.

Who says this? Him? The journalist?

The entire substance of the story is that a BMW was seen loitering at two different addresses. The allegations are completely unattributed and, aside from one person being a dog owner, there is no connection to any dog theft at all.

This is an appalling piece of journalism, with appeals to vague authorities and a made-up premise.

It seeks to build on a common urban myth - the chalk marks on a door or gate indicating a valuable dog. Check snopes.com - this has been thoroughly discredited already.

You could replace the word ‘dog’ with pretty much any other noun - car, or cat - and the article would be just as accurate.

JAMES DENING

Prickwillow

Via e-mail

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