Thieves continue to target dogs and puppies as prices soar

Warning to pet owners to stay vigilant

cocker spaniel in crate looks sad - dog theft

The surge in dog theft seen last year looks set to continue in 2021.

The Trust is urging pet owners to remain vigilant during this latest lockdown and beyond. Back in October, the BBC reported that 2019 was the ‘worst ever’ year for dog theft. The figures make for depressing reading. The number of dogs being stolen is reported to have risen 250% since the start of the pandemic. This escalation is being linked to the boom in demand for companion pets when people were furloughed or began working from home. In turn, this has pushed up prices, attracting thieves keen to capitalise on what has become a very lucrative market.

Many adult females are believed to be targeted for breeding stock on puppy farms. Puppies of some breeds have more than doubled in value. While the majority of thieves target kennels, there are numerous accounts of individual dogs being stolen from gardens, or even snatched when out walking with their owner. Thieves are also increasingly using violence.

The RSPCA advises owners to take extra precautions to deter dog theft including insuring their pets are neutered, microchipped and wear a collar with contact details. Owners are also being urged to ensure gardens are secure and to avoid leaving their dogs unattended.

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