Pet theft is rising significantly across the UK with pedigree pups being a key target. Due to the sex, age, and breed of your dog, prospective criminals will target your beloved companion for different reasons. Older dogs are typically used as bait in dog fights, puppies are sold for financial gain, and bitches are used to breed multiple litters. The thought of a dog being stolen and awaiting any of the above fates is unbearable for all loving owners and with that in mind, it is natural to feel obliged to protect both ourselves and our fluffy friends.
With reports recently surfacing in most areas of the country, throughout the lockdown we have all heard tales of markings on walls, local dog owners being followed and in certain instances leads slashed and harm committed against owners.
There is currently a lot of anxiety amongst dog owners living in an area where a pet theft crime has been reported and substantiated. To find out how to make your home more secure from opportunistic dog thieves check out our blog here.
Why is pet theft rising?
With many of us now working from home the prospect of a once unobtainable dog has become a reality with conscientious owners now able to provide companionship and comfort breaks to a new addition. However, much like the effect Christmas has on dog prices, the lockdown has rocketed the price of puppies due to their increase in demand. Social media has a lot to answer for when it comes to the latest in-demand dog breed with many celebrities and influencers’ pets often being expensive and aesthetically pleasing. With some puppies selling for upwards of £5k, these dogs become lucrative assets to thieves and can be sold on for a significant fee.
If you are considering getting a dog do spare thought for where the puppy is coming from, how many litters the mum is forced to live without, and how you are contributing to potentially harmful demand. A beautiful puppy is a loving addition to any home but rescues are cheaper, more conscientious alternatives.
Safety in numbers
Like in many situations in life, there will always be safety in numbers. If you are currently concerned about dog theft in your area or would just like to be more vigilant when going for a walk consider finding a friend or relative to accompany you and your pooch. There is no set stereotype for a dog thief, however, such criminals will normally approach in pairs or small groups. With this in mind, consider taking the whole family for dog walks for some much-needed fresh air or go with your partner. Simply walking with another person won’t make you completely safe from a possible attack but it will make you a less vulnerable choice and less likely to be targeted.
The only legal
self defence spray
It can be easy for concerned dog owners to become hysterical and for stories to be twisted on online platforms such as Facebook when the details of a local offence become common knowledge and subsequently exaggerated. Passionate and protective dog owners may consider investing in a number of illegal measures to equip them on walks but you should never be tempted to do this.
It is not legal to carry a weapon such as a knife or pepper spray in this country even in any situation even where self defence is the sole motivation.
The only legal self defence spray on the market works by visually deterring attackers due to its pepper spray and mace resemblance. In addition, these pocket-size products emit a powerful and non-toxic odor that is powerful enough to cling to clothes for a number of days making an attacker more easily identifiable. A form of UV dye that is naked to the invisible eye is also released within the spray which can help police highlight criminals and increase the chance of a successful conviction. Such sprays are available to buy from platforms such as Amazon and eBay.
Report what you see
There are currently thousands of reports of dog owners being made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe on recent dog walks. However, in terms of legitimately reported incidents, there are significantly fewer reports. If you have seen or closely avoided a potential dog attack then report the incident to your local police force. When the public report such situations to the police it can help local forces to identify the scale of the problem and determine appropriate communication and in some cases action. Witnesses can offer invaluable information to help build a picture of potential attackers who may already be known to police. It can be hard to determine what is genuinely criminally opportunistic behaviour or paranoia, especially when local reports are circulating. With this in mind, consider whether the behaviour you have experienced made you wish you chose a different route, whether you’d be comfortable for your family to be in such a situation with your pet and how you would advise a friend or loved one to deal with such an incident.