More Dogs Are Being Stolen Every Year

dog theftEvery year thousands of dogs are stolen from their owners and sadly it’s becoming increasingly common. Animal theft is no longer just an opportunist crime; professionals are now stealing animals to order, and there’s even been a rise in the number of ‘dog-napping’ incidents.

Last year there were 3,500 dogs reported stolen (an increase of 17% on the previous 12 months) so what’s behind the rise in dog thefts? And what measures can dog owners take to ensure their faithful friend’s safety?

The answer to the first question is simple and you won’t be surprised to hear that it’s money. While an opportunist might steal a dog that’s been tied to a lamppost in the hope of making a quick buck down the pub, professionals are stealing highly valuable animals on demand.

Pedigree dogs are popular targets as they can be easily sold or used for breeding. Similarly so-called ‘designer dogs’ (such as miniature French Bulldogs, Spaniels and Pugs) are highly-prized, as are trained working dogs. In the worst case scenario stolen dogs are muzzled and sold as bait for dog fights.

Dogs are also being stolen and used to extort money from their concerned owners. A typical ‘dog-napping’ scam will involve a criminal stealing a dog and waiting for a reward to be offered. They’ll then contact the owner and claim they bought the dog, which they are happy to return, as long as they aren’t left out-of-pocket. Unfortunately it’s a very difficult crime to prove and one that cynically exploits the millennia-old human-canine bond.

The single most effective way to stop your dog being stolen is to make sure that it’s never left alone. Thieves are becoming bolder and won’t think twice about taking a dog from outside a shop (even if you’ve just popped-in for a pint of milk) breaking into your car or jumping over your garden fence.

Be wary of sharing your dog’s details with admirers when you’re out and about (and certainly don’t mention that it won Best in Show at Crufts) and make sure they your dog is micro-chipped.

If your dog strays (or is stolen) you can harness the help of a nationwide group of volunteers at www.doglost.co.uk. The website uses people power to help reunite lost dogs with their owners and is packed with plenty of practical advice to help you find Fido.

Pet insurance is designed to provide a financial safeguard should the unthinkable happen.


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