The Rise in Dog Theft

The Rise in Dog Theft
Updated: August 2023

It’s beyond understanding for most of us that anyone would even contemplate stealing a dog. But sadly, over the last few years, dog theft has continued to rise at a horrifying pace.

Getting accurate figures for just how many dogs have been stolen is difficult, as in general police only investigate crimes involving missing dogs if there is an associated crime, like robbery. What is apparent, however, is that in 2022, it was estimated that over 2000 dogs were reported stolen in the UK alone.

Sometimes, an increase in dog theft follows a spike in celebrity trends. Remember a few years ago when the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Cornwall adopted Lupo?...there was a spate of thefts of Cavaliers and Spaniels.

Don’t think being a celebrity offers you any protection either. You may remember that a few years ago, actress Sheridan Smith, from Gavin and Stacey and West End Stage Show Legally Blonde had her shar Pei stolen twice, although she did get her back both times. Sometimes, criminal lowlifes think it’s funny – not to mention lucrative – to target dogs with the aim of extorting a reward out of their owners.

Sometimes dogs are stolen for breeding purposes – particularly small pedigrees. Sometimes, horrifyingly, dogs are targeted to be sold to labs for testing, used in drug smuggling, or involved in dog fights – even though dog fighting was officially banned in England and Wales in the early 19th century.

The breeds most often targeted by crooks vary from year to year, but at present the most popular dogs are spaniels (both cocker and springer), Labradors, Jack Russell and Staffordshire bull terriers, Chihuahuas, French Bulldogs, Shi-tzus, Lurchers, Greyhounds and Bulldogs.

And which areas are most at risk? Based on missing pet data, London appears to be most at risk, followed by the midlands, Northern Ireland, Wales. The South West, Scottish Borders and Highlands are least dangerous for our canine friends.

So how do you minimise the risk that your furry friend will be taken without consent? We have compiled 10 tips to help keep your dog safe. Here are our recommendations:

  • Supervision: Never leave your dog unattended in public places, especially tied up outside a store or in a vehicle. Dogs left alone are easier targets for thieves.

  • Secure fencing: Ensure your yard or outdoor area is securely fenced to prevent unauthorized access. Use a lock on the gate and consider adding motion-activated lights or security cameras.

  • Identification: Make sure your dog is wearing a collar with an ID tag that includes your name, address, and contact information. Additionally, consider microchipping your dog as a permanent form of identification.

  • Be cautious online: Avoid sharing too much personal information or posting pictures of your dog with identifiable landmarks that could reveal your location.

  • Vary routines: Try not to establish predictable walking or exercise routines, as thieves may take advantage of patterns to plan their theft.

  • Avoid leaving your dog in cars: Not only is this dangerous for your pet due to heat, but it also makes them more vulnerable to theft. If you need to travel with your dog, bring someone along to watch them if you have to step out of the vehicle.

  • Social media privacy: Be cautious about sharing your pet's location or daily activities on social media, especially on public profiles.

  • Stay vigilant: Pay attention to your surroundings while out with your dog and be cautious of anyone acting suspiciously.

  • Report suspicious activity: If you notice someone acting strangely around your dog or others, report it to local authorities or animal control.

  • Community engagement: Get to know your neighbors and local community members who have pets. Creating a network of like-minded individuals can help keep an eye on each other's pets and notify one another of any potential risks.

  • And, of course, make sure your pet is microchipped so he or she, and you, can be identified easily if found. From 2016 this became law in the UK anyway. Make sure you have photographs of your dog, from every angle, and get your animal neutered. Not only is this responsible dog ownership, it makes it much less likely that your pet will be targeted for breeding purposes – especially if you store the information on a 2nd microchip.

    If your dog does go missing, register the details with as many agencies as you can. It’s definitely a good idea to contact dog agencies – around 29% of dogs reported as missing are reunited with their owners when the owners contact the local authority or pound directly; a further 22% were reunited due to having a microchip.

    Leave a comment

    Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

    Special instructions for seller
    Add A Coupon

    What are you looking for?