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Dognapping is on the Rise

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If you have anything of value it will be targeted by thieves and sadly that includes your treasured pooch. Dognapping is on the rise and the latest statistics from Direct Line Insurance reveal that certain breeds are more likely to be stolen than others.

1,774 owners reported their dogs stolen last year but the real number could be considerably higher. Many owners find it difficult to get their dogs registered as stolen if there is no evidence of a break-in because the police believe that they may simply have run off or escaped.

The thieves are familiar with the various breeds and their potential value and so will target certain dogs. Surprisingly the most stolen breed was the Staffordshire bull terrier but many of the stolen dogs were the small breeds sometimes referred to as "Handbag" dogs. The ten most stolen breeds were:

  • Staffordshire bull terrier
  • Chihuahua
  • Jack Russell
  • Crossbreed
  • French bulldog
  • Lurcher
  • Labrador
  • Pug
  • Bulldog
  • Cocker spaniel

These figures could be slightly deceptive as some of the dogs which appear to be aggressively targeted may simply be stolen frequently because they are common breeds.

Where Are Dogs Being Stolen From?

A quarter of the stolen pets were snatched from gardens whilst one in ten were burgled from their homes. Ten per cent were snatched whilst out walking with their owners. London saw the most dog thefts but it was Cornwall and Devon which saw the greatest increase in thefts over the last three years. The Thames Valley region bucked the trend and thefts actually dropped in this area.

It is clear that flat faced dogs such as French Bulldogs are being stolen with alarming regularity. These dogs are incredibly popular at the moment and many high-profile celebrities favour them. They are small, they can be valuable and they are easy to identify and so these dogs make easy targets for the dognappers

How to Prevent your Dog from Being stolen

  • Don't leave your dog outside a shop unattended
  • Teach your dog a reliable recall for when you are out walking and try not to let them out of your sight.
  • Check your garden to make sure it is secure and if you have a gate, fit with a robust lock.
  • Fit a burglar alarm to your house.
  • Neuter your pet as this can reduce the likelihood of them wandering off.
  • Keep your pet’s microchip details up to date so that if your pet does go missing or is stolen then there is a higher chance that they can be identified and returned to you.
  • Keep recent photographs of your pet for use in any search which becomes necessary.

How to Enhance your Chances of recovering a Stolen Dog

  • If you suspect that your dog may have been stolen, contact the police immediately.
  • Call your microchip company so they can flag your pet as missing. This will also alert to them anyone trying to re-register the same microchip number.
  • Call your local RSPCA, and other animal welfare organisations just in case your pooch is handed in and to put the organisations on alert.
  • Contact your local vets.
  • Talk to neighbours, postman, milkman and other people in the neighbourhood, as they may have seen the animal or someone behaving suspiciously.
  • Put up flyers on notice boards & post them through letter boxes.


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