Dog thefts in the UK have reached a seven-year high, with the equivalent of eight dogs being stolen every single day.Last year alone 2,760 dogs were s
Dog thefts in the UK have reached a seven-year high, with the equivalent of eight dogs being stolen every single day.
Last year alone 2,760 dogs were snatched from their owners, and the number of heart-breaking thefts has risen 16 per cent since 2015, according to new data.
The most likely breeds to be targeted are French Bulldogs, followed by Jack Russell Terriers and other small dogs like Chihuahuas and Pugs, figures revealed under the Freedom of Information Act and compiled by Direct Line Pet Insurance show.
Dog thefts have skyrocketed in recent years with 2760 canines taken last year (Pictured: Bandit, a three-year-old cocker spaniel, who was stolen last year)
Coronavirus restrictions over the last couple of years have led to a boom in the puppy market, with 3.8 million people getting a dog during the pandemic.
The demand has led to a rise in the cost of dogs, with pedigree French Bulldogs costing upwards of £3000, making them a lucrative target for criminals.
London was the worst hit area with 422 incidents reported to the Met police, followed by West Yorkshire and Kent.
West Yorkshire Police recorded 199 reports of stolen dogs last year, nearly two thirds more than in 2020. Kent Police received reports about 182 stolen dogs in the same year.
Norfolk Constabulary, however, had the greatest success at returning dogs – reuniting 25 out of the 29 reported stolen with their owners.
‘It’s devastating to see the number of dogs stolen continues to increase across the country’ Madeline Pike, a Veterinary Nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance said.
‘Unfortunately, the increase in dog ownership since the pandemic began and the subsequent rise in prices of these animals seems to make the crime even more appealing to thieves.’
Ms Pike advised owners to take precautions such as seeing a puppy they plan to purchase with its mother to ensure they’re not buying from a criminal organisation, and once in possession of an animal not to leave it tied up outside a shop, or leave it inside an empty car.
‘It’s also vital to keep microchipping contact details up to date in case your dog does go missing and is handed in’ she added.