Dog theft has shot up in the UK since the start of the pandemic due to the rise of demand in puppies. During lockdown, families thought it was the perfect time to add a furry family member to their packs and were prepared to pay lots of money for puppies they didn’t necessarily know much about.
This lead to criminals - often hardened drug dealers - taking an interest in dog theft. To them, it’s an easier business: Dogs are everywhere, owners aren’t necessarily careful, the rewards are high, and the risk minimal.
Thieves steal dogs every chance they get
Speaking to the reporter, thieves explained that they don’t hesitate to break into people’s gardens or homes to take their dogs. They also go to popular dog walking areas and wait for owners to look away before snatching off-lead dogs who are wandering around. While they prefer puppies, they’ll take any dog they can get their hands on.
Once stolen, the dogs are taken to the thieves’ homes and either sold or kept for breeding. When asked about whether they grow attached to the dogs they steal, one of the thieves replied: “I can’t lie. To me, the dogs are just some money.”
Another, confronted about how the previous owners of the dogs might feel, said:
What is the punishment for dog theft in the UK?
Yet, pet owners all over the country are grieving their lost pets. Sadly, it would seem the Police doesn’t take dog thefts as seriously as it should. While the maximum sentence for stealing a dog is technically 7 years, there is a lack of convictions. In fact, less than 5% of cases result in a criminal conviction.
Yet, the Police and the government are not the only ones to blame. By not asking questions and blindly purchasing any cute puppy they find on the internet, new dog owners are participating in the criminal system. If people only bought from KC registered, reputable breeders or adopted from shelters, this business wouldn’t exist.
There is hope that with lockdown restrictions easing, the demand for dogs will decrease and these criminal gangs will stop these despicable thefts.
And here’s hoping these poor dogs find their way back to their homes. Good luck, little ones.