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Dog thefts on rise across UK

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Dog thefts on rise across UK

Dog thefts have increased across the UK amid a plea to potential owners to only ever buy from reputable breeders.

Police figures suggest that at least 2,290 dogs were stolen last year, a 6% increase on 2022.

Just one in six (16%) were found and returned successfully, the lowest level since insurer Direct Line started tracking the data in 2015.

English Bulldogs, French Bulldogs and XL bullys were the most frequently stolen breeds, while the Metropolitan Police registered the most thefts, with 359 dogs reported missing across London, followed by Kent Police (138) and West Yorkshire Police (125).

English Bulldogs and ‘Frenchies’ are regularly advertised for around £3,000, meaning criminals can secure large sums for these animals, Direct Line said.

Beverley Cuddy, the editor of Dogs Today magazine, a patron of Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance and founder of dog homing website Bark Angel, said: “Sadly, dog theft is still obviously very attractive to callous thieves, as figures show it being up 6% on last year. Shockingly in 2023 almost three quarters of pet owners didn’t get their stolen pets back.

“The Theft Act still treats this crime as no more significant than the theft of a mobile phone – so all our pets are at risk of abduction.

“We can make it harder for impulsive criminals by never leaving our dogs tied up outside shops and protecting them when at home. Statistics show most are stolen from our own gardens. The Pet Abduction Bill will hopefully punish dog thefts more severely, but more needs to be done to change the way dogs are treated as mere commodities by the law.”

Anne Maynard, from Chalfont St Peter in Buckinghamshire, whose female adult Jack Russell named Mouse went missing during a walk at a local golf club on the morning of December 3 last year, said her disappearance had “absolutely devastated” the family.

Extensive and repeated searches by members of the local and wider community, a constantly updated Facebook page and posters with pictures of Mouse have so far failed to turn up any trace of her, but Mrs Maynard said the family would never give up.

She said: “It’s changed our lives completely. You can’t give up. We have no closure. We don’t sleep properly. We get crank calls from people in the middle of the night saying, ‘We’ve got your dog’ and then they put the phone down and we can’t get back to sleep.

“It’s a life sentence. She’s part of our family”

Addressing the person who might have her, Mrs Maynard said: “They have to do the right thing. She’s a beautiful dog, but she’s not theirs, she’s ours.

“All they have to do is put her somewhere she will be found. No questions asked. She wouldn’t give up on us, so we’re not going to give up on her.”

Published: by Radio NewsHub

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