A recent influx in dog thefts has been taking place in the UK and is a worrying trend for all those with a beloved pet. Many charity volunteers and organisations have cited 2020 to be the worst year on record they’ve known for dog thefts. Some charities believe the pandemic and an abundance of new puppy purchases has created more opportunities for criminals to make money.
During the years 2018 and 2019, dog thefts across England and Wales actually fell by 23% with approximately 600 less dogs being stolen. However, on average, six dogs were reported stolen every day across England and Wales. In 2019, only 22% of dogs that were stolen were reunited with and returned to their owners. An alarming increase amongst Cocker Spaniels showed 93% more dogs of this breed being stolen than the previous year.
Why Are Dogs Being Stolen in the UK?
There are a number of reasons why dogs are stolen across the UK. One of the main motivations behind such thefts is the expense of certain designer dog breeds. Another key reason for dog theft is the dogs potential breeding ability and many stolen dogs that have not been neutered or spayed are kept solely to make money from consecutive litters. In addition to the attractive asking price for such breeds, there are extremely lenient prison sentences for the crime meaning there is very little in terms of a deterrent for such criminals. Currently the maximum sentence for stealing a dog is seven years, however it is much more likely to be given a fine and or community service. Only 5% of cases lead to a conviction, which is a heartbreaking statistic for those who have lost a beloved companion.
Which Dog Breeds Are Stolen?
Over the last few years the ten most commonly stolen dog breeds in order have been: Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Crossbreed, Chihuahua, Cocker Spaniel, Bulldog, Yorkshire Terrier
French Bulldog, Lurcher, Border Collie and lastly Jack Russell.
How Are Dogs in the UK Stolen?
Dogs are stolen in many ways and it’s important to equip yourself with this knowledge to help prevent your own pets from being targeted. If you have a back garden with a low fence and near a road with access to the public, you should never leave your dog unattended. The pet census has revealed that 52% of dogs are snatched from people’s gardens, a place owners often take for granted as safe.
You should never leave your dog in the car especially on a hot day, however, a car is also a hotspot for thieves to target your pet.
Dogs that are left unattended and tied up in front of shops are at significant risk. Without an owner present, dogs are easy targets and when approached with kindness are likely to go along with the stranger because of their gentle nature.
In a busy park or public place, it can be easy to lose sight of your dog, especially if throwing a toy for them to fetch. Parks are hot spots for criminals looking to take advantage of the many distractions.