PET owners are being warned to be on their guard against dog-nappers posing as RSPCA officers.

Reports of bogus dog inspectors have been circulating throughout the UK and last night, Tuesday February 2, an incident was reported to police in west Wales.

Lisa Mallia had a frightening experience at 11pm when she heard a knock on the door of her home in Carmarthen.

She established that it was "one man and one woman saying they were from the RSPCA and wanted to take my dog for inspection for negligence," she said in a warning she has posted on Facebook.

"I asked why so late at night and who complained and asked for identification off the pair off them but they (said they) didn’t have to prove any of the above as it was part of an investigation.

"If it was day time I probably would have answered the door but being so late at night I was so wary.

"So please be warned - it seems to be a new trick for dog thefts plus they knew I had a spaniel.

"It was very frightening."

Speaking to the Western Telegraph, Lisa added: "I had my nine-year-old son in the house sleeping too, and I dread to think what would have happened had I opened the door.

"I just hope they are caught before they do some serious damage."

This latest warning about potential animal thefts comes just days after owners were warned about a couple calling at a house in Kilgetty and saying they were pet photographers.

Lisa believes that the would-be thieves are using dog whistles to attract the attention of animals with their high-pitched sound, because her dog went to the window and growled, alerting the couple to its presence.

She added: "They are walking round streets doing this to gain reactions from houses with dogs inside.

"I saw no vehicle, but that could have been parked at the top of the street maybe.

"The pair that came had no strong distinctive accents and I would say local in that respect. They were dressed in black cargo trousers and black jumpers."

An RSPCA Cymru spokesman said:

"Sadly, we have received worrying reports of individuals posing as RSPCA workers to potentially gain access to people's dogs.

"Our officers will always be wearing uniforms bearing our logo, and will always carry RSPCA identification.

"If an RSPCA officer is in contact with you, or visits your home and you are unsure of their credentials, then please ask to see their official ID and look for the RSPCA badge on their clothing.

"Should you believe someone is impersonating a member of our staff please report the incident to us - via 0300 1234 999 - and to your local police."