Ben and his bull terrier

Dog owners in Tamworth and the police say they are concerned after a man was attacked during the attempted theft of his pet.

Ben Moorhouse, 35, was walking his bull terrier at 8.30pm along Bonehill Road, Tamworth when three men in a van tried to steal his dog.

Ben sustained injuries from the attack after being shoved into a thorn bush loaded with barbed wire. He received medical attention due to the deep cuts and gash on his hip.

Click here to view image of injury *graphic*

All Ben could worry about in the moment was his dog. He did not even realise he was injured until he got home.

One of the attackers grabbed Ben’s dog who slipped out of his collar and bit the man who was trying to take him.

The three men fled from the scene empty handed and the incident has been reported to Staffordshire Police.

Residents in Tamworth have noticed many thick cable ties on lampposts outside their house that they claim to have never seen before. Many dog owners fear that this could be a sign of attackers marking houses that have a dog.

Chief Inspector Mark Thorley, commander of Moorlands Neighbourhood Policing Team, wants to reassure locals that research they have conducted shows that cases in Staffordshire are low.

He said: “The issue of dog thefts is something that is highly emotive and I can fully appreciate why. I am aware of the concerns over this offence and in response asked for some research to be carried out to understand the picture in Staffordshire.”

He added: “It is right that owners are vigilant and take the necessary steps to guard against dog thefts. We are aware of the figures from across the country and our officers respond to reported incidents in Staffordshire.

“Issues in other areas of the country do not appear to be reflected here and while we ask people to be vigilant I would not want owners to be fearful. I want to reassure them that such thefts do not appear to be as prevalent locally as nationally. Our officers are active in their communities to provide visibility and support.”

Puppy trainer Bobs Broadbent, founder of training organisation DogKnows, said it is important to train your dog throughout its lifetime and development.

AUDIO: Bobs Broadbent speaks out about the different commands your dog can learn to prevent dog theft

“Its about consistency. Dogs learn by association, they take into account the situation that they’re in when they’re learning. If you’re inconsistent, then you’re setting them up for failure rather than success.”

For more information on ways to prevent dog theft from happening to you, The RSPCA and Dogs Trust give further advice on their websites.