\\\ Missing Pets – Pet Theft
Most Stolen Dogs In The UK
Missing Pet Or Pet Theft Victim?
2020 and 2021 saw huge increases in the number of pets being bought as we all stayed at home due to the rise of the pandemic. We had more time to give our pets and they became our treasured companions, filling our days with joy.
The rise in the new pet population estimated by the Pet Food Manufacturers, Association, was actually around an estimated 2.5 million more dogs as there were cats, bringing the totals to an estimated 12.5 millions dogs residing in the UK and about the same number of cats, 12.5 million.
As the population grew rapidly so did alarmingly pet theft. Many distressing reports being posted on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, social media accounts daily with the sites being inundated for the public’s help and support to find readers missing pets.
As the prices of dog and cat breeds escalated with the increased demand, so did the thefts, recording some very ugly scenes of owners being physically assaulted as members of the public stole their dogs grapping the dogs on their leads. It wasn’t a different story either in the US with such high profile cases as Lady Gaga’s dog walker being shot at for her dogs whilst he was out dog walking.
Prices went sky high for the most popular breeds which also had a knock on affect of generally increasing pet insurance.
Some pets disappear of their own free will for a number of reasons as we’ve discussed recently in the Pet Check blog ‘Whats the best way to find my missing pet?’ It can be a very distressing ordeal not knowing if your pet has actually been dognapped, catnapped or they’ve gone missing of their own accord. Our article provides the best tips to contact the relevant authorities and advertise after a good search of the home and outbuildings, and good practice when on holiday, staycations, weekend breaks, in new surroundings particularly with your dog who will be keen to explore the neighbourhood. It also provides tips on how to try and prevent loss in the first place.
So What’s Being Done To Stop The Rise In Pet Theft?
During the last 18 months or so, police forces up and down the country were starting to receive many more calls from despairing pet owners about their pets being stolen, where The Kennel Club stating that as many as 52% of all pet thefts being recorded by pet owners were from their gardens whilst their pets were exercising and playing. A truly audacious crime as thieving and stealing pets is classed as a crime with a maximum sentence of prison. Clearly this is not a big enough deterrent currently.
It saw the new appointments, starting in the Nottinghamshire Constabulary, of dedicated police officers helping with these pet theft enquiries, who believe that dog theft has increased by 250% during the pandemic.
Money.co.uk have detailed their Freedom of Information requests to police constabularies up and down the country, for pet theft information, the information now compiled in a report by Salman Haqqi, with surprising, and not-so surprising results.
The report concluded, not surprisingly, that London was the UK’s pet theft hotspot over the past five years followed by Yorkshire towns and Leeds city with ‘Staffies’, the Staffordshire bull terrier, the most popular breed of dog theft, followed by chihuahua’s and French bulldogs. It has to be noted that Yorkshire is the largest county outside of London so perhaps geographical reporting may be in question here.
However, the FOI request outlined that the German shepherd dog was now seeing the biggest rise overall in dog theft. Note that some police forces did not distinguish between breeds and mixed breeds, (sometimes can be referred to as mongrels), in their reporting.
The Popular Dog Breeds Stolen Over The Last 5 Years
- Staffordshire Bull Terrier – 367 thefts
- Chihuahua – 163 thefts
- French Bulldog – 149 thefts
- Jack Russell Terrier – 107 thefts
- Pug – 97 thefts
- Bulldog – 94 thefts
- German Shepherd – 93 thefts
- Yorkshire Terrier – 77 thefts
- Cocker Spaniel – 66 thefts
- American Bulldog – 63 thefts
French bulldogs “Frenchies” in particular have been targeted by dog thieves and criminal gangs during lockdown, small enough to be manageable easy targets and loved by adoring celebrities make this breed a real favourite by the dog napper.
What doesn’t appear to be available at the time of writing are up-to-date available statistics, 2020, from the insurers who faced surmountable claims.
5 Important Tips
Do I need to get my pet microchipped?
Pet microchipping. UK dog wear ID tags, collars, and microchipped. Is it necessary to microchip dogs and cats? Is it a legal pet requirement? Pets wear collars and ID tags, cost of pet microchipping, preventing pet theft, pet strays, microchipped dogs and cats. Petcheck.blog BlogKeep reading
\\\ Pet Theft Insurance Tips
Would pet insurance cover me if my pet was stolen?
Everypaw Pet Insurance does offer pet theft cover
An ABI, Association of British Insurers spokesperson replied
‘Insurers handled £1.6million worth of dog insurance claims each day in 2020. There has been a fall in the number of people taking out pet insurance for dogs despite the rise in dog owners.
Pet insurance is essential for any dog owner to protect against theft and medical treatment should your dog get ill or injured. When looking for a policy it is important to shop around for the best deal’.
Currently Pet Check cannot find a definite list of pet insurers who “opt in” to cover owners. It takes some painstaking work to go through the 80 or more UK pet insurers to find the best deals, but bear in mind that valuable breeds may be worth up to £10,000, it’s as important as insuring a car, and needs to be researched wisely.
\\\ Police Tips
What do the police suggest to do?
The police offer the following advice –
- Keep an ID tag on your dog at all times (your surname, mobile number and address only)
- Secure gates using bolts at the top and bottom, along with a heavy-duty padlock and gate alarm
- Never leave your pet in the garden unattended
- Purchase a driveway alarm so you are alerted to any intruders, these can also be used in rear gardens and yards
- Make sure your dog is microchipped and their details are updated so that they can be returned if they are stolen and subsequently found.
- Avoid leaving a dog tied up outside a shop or left alone in a car, even for a few minutes
- Take lots of photographs of your dog to prove ownership if it’s stolen, pay particular attention to any distinguishing markings on your dog.
\\\ Stay Alert Tips
Are there helpful gadgets?
GPS pet activity trackers are perfect for those dogs that have gardens or love to roam whilst on walks, but it’s always advisable never to let your dog of the lead if they do not obey your return commands.
They are incredibly useful when travelling between international destinations to track your pets movements through air and sea handlers and nearer to home, if you’re out at work all day, giving you piece of mind to know exactly where your pet is anytime of the day.
\\\ Dog Theft At Parliament
Is dog theft a crime?
Dog theft in the UK is a crime which carries a maximum sentence of up to seven years in prison under the Theft Act 1968.
Recently, several petitions receiving the required number of petitioners signatures had been submitted to parliament for MP’s to further consider taking forward and revise existing laws to tighten up with heftier fines on animal welfare standards and looking into how pet theft can be better prevented.
You can read about the Full Terms Of Reference, the governments task force.
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