Dog theft on the rise, say dog insurers

Dog theft: stay vigilant, pup-lovers!
Dog theft is on the rise. ©Pixabay

Dog kidnapping went up by nearly 7% last year, according to new research from insurance company Direct Line. And although the rise in thefts is lower than previous years, kidnappers are now abducting an average of five dogs a day.

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Nearly 2,000 dogs were reported stolen in 2017. A lurch in French Bulldog thefts has been attributed to their popularity among celebrities such as Leonardo DiCaprio, The Rock, Lady Gaga, and Madonna.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers remain the top choice for dog crooks. Around one-in-ten dog kidnappings involve a Staffie.

A bad area for dogs

London’s Metropolitan Police Service reported over 10% of all dog thefts last year. The region was closely followed by West Yorkshire and Kent as dognapping hotspots.

But beneath the statistics continues the cruel pain of knowing some sociopath is holding your dog to random. Or worse – trafficking him or her to a new owner.

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“Having your dog stolen is one of the most distressing things a pet owner can face,” Prit Powar, Head of Pet Insurance at Direct Line, “particularly as animals are often considered to be members of the family.

“There is no excuse for the theft of an animal but some of the reasons behind dog theft include using the animal for dog fighting, breeding or selling on.

“The rise in popularity of ‘designer’ dog breeds among celebrities and the ‘fashion’ for certain types of dogs means people are willing to pay thousands for an animal, which unfortunately makes them prime targets for thieves. Pedigree owners need to be especially vigilant.”

A ransom of love

Direct Line also revealed a rise in the number of kidnapped dogs who make it home. Around 388 escape or are rescued each year. That means one in five dognapping victims will show up at their owner’s front door.

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“To avoid your dog being a target for thieves, consider keeping it on the lead in populated areas and when off the lead, make sure you can always see it,” continues Powar.

“Never leave your dog tied up outside a building unsupervised and make sure your home is secure, so thieves cannot easily take your dog from your garden.”

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John is a filmmaker and freelance writer. Specialising in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. He grew up with a golden Labrador named Abba (both of them were children of the '70s) and is nicknamed "G-Dog" for his dogly approach to life. He lives in London but is always on the move.