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Charity calls for tougher sentencing after increase in pet theft

Lola, stolen dog.

Pet owners are living in fear that their beloved pet could be stolen, according to Blue Cross pet charity. Today, the leading charity has released figures showing stolen pets are on the rise with an increase of almost 40% compared to 2012¹.  Not surprisingly over a third of the nation’s pet owners are worried their pet could fall prey to thieves².

Owners are now backing the charity’s call for tougher sentences for those who commit the crime, which Blue Cross hopes will act as a deterrent. Almost half of pet owners believe that homes are being deliberately targeted by criminals who are capitalising on the nations’ devotion to their beloved pets, with pets being stolen to sell or in return for a reward or ransom.

The effect of having your pet stolen can be absolutely devastating for owners. This is why we want the Government to do more to deal with this increasing problem. Penalties need to be tougher for those committing these crimes to act as deterrent to others. We also believe that police forces need to ensure they deal with these cases in a sensitive manner and highlight where owners can go for further support. Becky Thwaites, Blue Cross Public Affairs Officer
Liam and his beloved dog Lola before she was stolen

Lola, an 18-month-old miniature schnauzer, went missing whilst staying with relatives in Fareham. Neighbours saw two men and a woman snatch her from a nearby doorstep and she hasn’t been seen since. Owner Gemma Atkin-Brown said: “We’re devastated by the loss of Lola and are desperate to get her back. My son cries himself to sleep at night because he misses her so much and my disabled daughter can’t understand why Lola has gone.”

Blue Cross’s Pet Bereavement Support Service has been helping pet owners for over 20 years. Each year the charity receives over 6000 calls and emails from those who are going or have been through losing a pet – for any reason. It offers free, confidential support on 0800 096 6606.

Tracie McGrory, Pet Bereavement Support Manager at Blue Cross said: “A pet is an integral part of so many families who are absolutely devastated if they are stolen. Not only are they missing their pet they are also desperately worried about what is happening to them.” 

Blue Cross tips on protecting your pet include:

  • Think twice before leaving your pet alone in the car or tied outside a shop.
  • Take clear photographs of your pet from different angles to help prove ownership if needed.
  • Train your dog to come back to you when called if in a strange place or in doubt they will return keep them on an extended lead
  • Beware of strangers asking questions about your dog
  • Make sure you pet has a microchip to increase the chance of being reunited and don’t forget to update your contact details if you move home
  • If your pet is stolen report the crime to the police
  • Contact your local animal warden and rescue centres in case your pets escapes or is dumped

Blue Cross is asking animal lovers to help make a change in the law a reality by asking their MP to back the campaign. Visit to find out more and download a letter template.

Show your #suppawt for Blue Cross to help change the story for sick, injured and homeless pets. Text SUPPAWT to 70907 to donate £5* or visit


Notes to Editors

  • Spokespeople and victims of pet theft available for interview, please contact press office
  • Images of Lola with family are available, please contact press office
  • *Texts charged at standard UK rates
  • ¹Figures based on an FOI to all UK police forces, at least 1567 cats and dogs were reported stolen in 2014 compared to 1150 in 2012
  • ² Survey with pet owners conducted by Onepoll
  • Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service
  • Sick, injured and homeless pets have relied on Blue Cross since 1897. Abandoned or unwanted, ill or injured, pets turn to us for help every year. Our doors are always open to them, and with your support, they always will be.
  • Each year, thousands of cats, dogs, small pets and horses turn to our animal hospitals, clinics and rehoming services for treatment and to find them the happy homes they deserve.
  • For more information, please visit

Media contact

Louise Lee, Blue Cross press office 020 7932 4066 or [email protected]

— Page last updated Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 09:43