Dismal statistics provided by police forces across the UK reveal that dog thefts across the UK are rising. Here’s what you need to know, and what you can do to help prevent your dog being included in next year’s statistics.
What are the facts?
- More than 1,500 dogs are stolen in the UK each year
- In 2013 that figure was 1,490 and it’s steadily risen to 1,776 in 2015
- Sentencing laws for theft of a dog are the same as any other type of domestic theft (shocking, we know!)
- The UK government made it mandatory for all dogs to be microchipped as of April 2016, which can help bring dogs back to their owners, but more needs to be done to ensure dogs are kept safe
Why is dog theft on the rise?
The main reason for theft here in the UK seems to be financial – thieves can make a lot of money from selling puppies. While horrible to contemplate, it’s somewhat unsurprising. Prospective dog owners part with significant sums for their dream puppy. For example, British Bulldog puppies can sell for up to £1,800, and so it seems that thieves are targeting bitches whose puppies will fetch a high price.
Thieves seem to target popular or ‘designer’ breeds, like Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Miniature French Bulldogs, and Pugs. However, today’s report from the BBC shows that any dog, regardless of breed, could become a target.
So, what can we do about it?
- Vary the routes when taking your dog out for walks, and be sure to not let your dog out of your sight
- You could consider neutering your pup so that they don’t become a target of theft for breederS
- Consider the security of your home; fences, garden, doors – thefts don’t just happen in parks!
- Don’t leave your dog unattended outside a shop – perhaps find a dog sitter during the day if you’ve got a busy day out and about
- Consider writing to your MP to urge them to support harsher laws, and more stringent microchip checks to be made by vets when brought new dogs
And of course, if your dog has been stolen report the theft to the police before you do anything else.
Check charity and local police force websites for more information on what services are available to you if your dog is stolen, or you suspect that there has been a theft in your area: