Dog thefts in the UK are becoming more common and one in five cat and dog owners have had their pet stolen. Dogs are stolen for a number of reasons, for breeding, selling on, dog fighting or simply to claim the reward from their frantic owners
The average age of a stolen pet is two years 11 months, but 15 per cent are stolen in their first year according to a recent census.
Pets are most likely to be stolen from gardens (52 per cent) or if they are at home on their own (19 per cent).
Dogs were taken while being walked (16 per cent), tied up outside shops (seven per cent) and left in cars (five per cent).
Almost one in four owners leaves their dog unattended outside shops.
A third of pet thefts are not reported to the police.
The most commonly stolen breed is the Staffordshire bull terrier and the most common target for cat thieves is Siamese and Persians.
The following tips might save you from being a victim of this crime:
*Microchipping – this is not an insurance but pets that are chipped are more likely to be eventually returned to their owners.
*Ensure that your pet has a tag on its collar with your phone number.
*Never leave your dog unattended, such as tied up outside a shop, in a car or even alone in a garden. As an aside, many years ago a client of mine went shopping and left her dog tied up outside a shop. She forgot about the dog and went home to make tea and only realised that her pet was not there when serving the food. She then went back to the shop and the patient but worried dog was still waiting there an hour later.
*Don’t leave a sign saying my dog lives here. It may encourage a thief.
*If you let your dog off the lead in a park or other green space make sure he is within your sight at all times.
*Think about having your dog neutered as it can make them less vulnerable to theft.
*If you are a breeder never put your address details on a website or classified ad.