Everyone wants a fluffy companion to keep them company while we work from home. They cure our boredom, keep us active and make us a little less lonely. However, the Kennel Club has discovered that there has been a significant increase in dog thefts since the start of the pandemic, with 2,355 thefts in 2020 alone, equating to almost 200 dogs being torn from their family each month. Shockingly, 98% of dog thieves are never charged, and in more than half of cases a suspect is never identified. In addition to this, when action is taken and an offender is convicted, sentences are extremely woeful.
Currently, sentences for dog theft are focused on the monetary value of the pet rather than the emotional impact of the crime, meaning it is often treated in the same way as the theft of a laptop or a mobile phone, rather than as a category one offence, which carries a maximum of seven years in prison in England and Wales. We want to ensure that a solution is delivered by the Government taskforce when the summer recess is over and that justice is served for the families that have had pets stolen.
To prevent your dog from getting stolen, some tips include:
- Securing your garden, checking for gaps in fences and ensuring strangers cannot enter
- Don’t leave your dogs outside shops. Even if you’re just popping in for the essentials, that is plenty of time for a dog thief to take your fluffy friend.
- Don’t leave your dog in a car. Some breeds of dog are now worth thousands of pounds and are worth breaking into cars for.
- Do some background checks on your dog walkers/sitters. Ask for recommendations from friends and family, and see if they have a website or online reviews.
- If your dog does unfortunately get stolen, make sure to register the microchip as stolen so that any new vet that scans your dog can clearly see they have been taken.
- By being a responsible pet owner and following this advice, we can all enjoy a long and happy future with our furry friends.