Dog theft is a rising concern for many pet owners, especially those who own breeds that can fetch a high price on the market. Whether it’s for breeding, resale, or even demanding a ransom, the motivations behind these crimes can be varied. As pet lovers, it’s our responsibility to ensure our furry companions are safe and sound. Here are some practical tips to help you do just that.
Startling Statistics on Dog Theft
Before diving into the solutions, it’s crucial to understand the gravity of the situation. There was a sharp rise in pet thefts from 2019 to 2020, although in 2023 this has now declined.
- In 2020, dog thefts rose by 170% compared to the previous year. (source)
- Breeds like French Bulldogs, Pugs, and Labradors are among the most commonly stolen breeds (source)
- 2160 dogs were stolen in the UK last year, which equates to nearly 6 dogs stolen every day. (source)
These numbers highlight the importance of being vigilant.
Microchipping: A First Line of Defence
Microchipping your dog can greatly increase the chances of being reunited with your pet should they go missing. A microchip, roughly the size of a grain of rice, is embedded under the skin and contains a unique identification number. Vets and shelters can use a special scanner to read this number and trace it back to the owner.
Not only is microchipping a legal requirement in the UK, it also acts as a deterrent to thieves. Knowing that a dog can be easily identified makes it a less appealing target.
It is important to keep your pet’s microchip details up to date to ensure they can be returned home safely to you if the worst happens. If you move house, get a new phone number, or your pet ownership changes, make sure to update your pet’s microchip details as soon as possible.
Protecting Your Pooch at Home and Outdoors
- Secure your garden: Ensure your garden or yard has a sturdy fence, ideally with a lock. This acts as the first line of defence against would-be thieves.
- Avoid routine: Try to change up your walking routine. Dog thieves sometimes watch and learn patterns to determine the best time to strike.
- Be cautious with strangers: If someone approaches you with too many questions about your dog or its breed, be wary. They might have ulterior motives.
- Invest in pet cameras: These allow you to monitor your pets when you’re not at home. Modern pet cameras even allow you to speak to your dog and alert you if there’s movement in your home.
- Don’t leave your dog unattended: Whether it’s in the car, outside a shop, or in a park, always keep an eye on your pet.
Pet Insurance: Peace of Mind for Dog Owners
Considering the rising cases of dog theft, having Dog Insurance can offer pet owners added peace of mind. Perfect Pet insurance policies include cover not just for medical issues but also for dog theft, advertising costs for a lost pet, and even rewards for their return. This safety net ensures that, in the unfortunate event of theft, you have the resources to make every effort to get your pet back.
What to Do if Your Dog Is Stolen
- Report it: Notify the police immediately. If your dog is microchipped, alert the microchip database too.
- Spread the word: Use social media, local newspapers, and community boards to share pictures and details of your missing dog. Make them “too hot to handle”.
- Check local shelters: Visit nearby shelters and rescues to see if your dog has been brought in.
Success Stories: A Beacon of Hope
Despite the concerning statistics, there are countless success stories of stolen dogs being reunited with their owners. Here are some of our recent favourites:
- Stolen dogs reunited with owner after three years – BBC
- Dog which vanished eight months ago is found 50 miles away from home – Metro
- Dog stolen from Saffron Walden reunited with owners – Saffron Walden Reporter
While the threat of dog theft is real, being proactive, vigilant, and equipped with the right knowledge can greatly reduce the risk. Ensuring that our four-legged friends are safe is paramount. By following the tips provided, you can keep your pet secure and create a community where thieves think twice before attempting to snatch our beloved companions.