Stolen dogs: Dog theft on rise in the UK – how to avoid criminals snatching your puppy

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Dog and puppy sales have increased over lockdown, just as the demand for dogs has risen, increasing prices. Criminals are making money snatching and reselling dogs.

According to The Pet Census, there are a number of places your dog is most likely to be stolen.

However, the most common place for a dog to be stolen from is the owner’s garden.

Local parks are also likely places for dogs to be stolen, as well as from cars.

Home security systems provider, SimpliSafe, spoke with Simon Powell from Animal Search UK.

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He said: “There has been a huge rise in dog thefts reported to us here at Animal Search UK.

“Demand has skyrocketed because of lockdown, where people now have more time to spend with their new pets and train them.

“But with that there comes certain problems – whether it’s an organised gang or loner with the opportunity to get quick money, by simply stealing a dog and breeding. When you breed a dog it can potentially have a litter of six to eight puppies, the base price of puppies has gone up at least 50 percent.

“For example, dachshund and labrador puppies 12 months ago were priced between £800 and £1,000; today it’s around £3,000. That means the earning potential from one litter of six to eight puppies could be anywhere between £15,000 and £20,000.

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“Some even steal the dog with the intention to bring the dog back in return for a cash reward, as usually the owners are so upset and relieved to have their pet back they hand them the money, and the police don’t usually get involved. Therefore there is no proof.”

High value dogs most likely to be stolen

  • Labrador
  • Dachshund
  • Boston Terrier
  • French Bulldog

There are a number of tips put together by SimpliSafe to avoid dog theft.

1. Owners should make sure that their dogs are microchipped and that their details are registered and kept up to date with a microchip database such as Petlog.

2. Owners should take preventative measures, including ensuring their home has an alarm system, not leaving their dog tied up outside a shop or other public place and making sure they can see their dog when out and about on walks.

3. Make sure your home is secure from the outside. Simple measures such as driveway gates, motion sensor lights and home security cameras can really deter burglars who may look for quick opportunities to swipe valuable pets.

If your dog unfortunately does go missing or is stolen, it’s crucial to act quickly. Immediately report the crime to the police and ensure you are given a crime reference number – and that your dog is correctly reported as stolen, not lost. Notify your microchip provider and alert your local authority dog warden if you have one, as well as nearby rescue centres and vets. Social media can also be a helpful tool to spread the word quickly.

This warning comes after the police issued its own.

Torpoint Police said thieves are using fake RSPCA vans and attempting to take pets from their owners by claiming they match the description of a stolen animal.

The force warned the RSPCA would “never take a dog like that”.

Last week on LBC Radio Home Secretary Priti Patel addressed dog theft. She said: “This is absolutely shocking, it’s a shocking crime that is taking place.”

She added she was “looking into what kind of measures can be put in place in terms of the criminality”.

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