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Pet theft is on the rise

Dog theft is on the rise – and we want to stop thieves in their tracks

Dog theft is on the rise for the fourth year in a row, according to new figures we’ve obtained from UK police forces.

Dog theft crimes rose by a third in 2015 compared to 2014, according to freedom of information requests sent to forces across the country.

We also asked for locations the dogs were stolen from and, despite many owners believing dogs are taken from a public place, the data shockingly reveals over 70 per cent of dogs were stolen from where they live, and almost half from within the home itself.

stolen dog Betty with Daisy Thomas

Stolen dog: Betty

Linsey Thomas's seven-year-old daughter, Daisy, is distraught after French bulldog puppy Betty was stolen from the garden in March 2016.

Linsey said: “Betty was stolen just before my daughter Daisy’s seventh birthday. She has been the most affected by this and refused to have a party or any birthday presents as she just wanted her puppy back. It’s been tough for us all but Daisy is devastated.”

Stolen dog: Sherbert

Tricia Scott’s says it feels like losing a member of the family since poodle cross Sherbert was taken from her garden in Newport on 15 October.

Tricia said: “I can honestly say it's like I have lost a child. My boys are distraught! The only thing that has kept us going has been the support from people. It is getting harder as the weeks are going on not knowing if he is being cared for and is happy.”

Protect your pet

  • Make sure you can keep an eye on your dog when they are in the garden and that all fences and gates are secure and in good repair
  • Prevent your dog from sitting in the window or behind a glass door in view of any passers-by
  • Don’t leave your dog 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 if 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 – now a legal requirement for dogs

If the worst happens

  • If your pet is stolen report the crime to the police
  • Tell the microchip database that your pet has been stolen and ask that they make a note on the record
  • Contact your local animal warden and rescue centres in case your pet escapes or is dumped

Police advice to secure homes against burglars

  • Fit key operated locks to all downstairs and easy to access windows
  • Lock doors and windows every time you leave the house – even when in the garden
  • Hide all keys out of sight and away from the letter box.
  • Install a burglar alarm and good outside lighting
  • Consider joining or forming a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme
  • Consider replacing glass door panels with stronger laminated glass
Stolen pet poster

Grieving for a missing pet? We’re here to help

Our Pet Bereavement Support Service is there at the end of the phone and to answer emails for anyone who is going through losing a pet – for any reason.

Diane James, from the Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service said: “We take many calls from owners who are missing their pet, including when a pet has been stolen. We offer support for those struggling to cope with the loss of their pet and give advice to help their children, who can be particularly upset and confused by the loss of their beloved family member.”

For free, confidential support, call 0800 096 6606 or email [email protected]

— Page last updated 5/01/2018