Dog Theft: How Big is The Problem and How do You Prevent The Theft of Your Dog?
How Big is The Problem?
There has been a great deal of speculation recently about the massive increase in the number of dogs stolen in 2021 with estimates ranging between 2,700 and 3,000 which is equivalent to ten dogs snatched every day.
So, is dog theft really on the increase, should you be worried and more importantly what can you do to protect yourself from this awful crime?
Not All Police Forces Release Their Crime Figures on Dog Theft
The problem with statistics is they rarely give the true picture especially when you discover that some police forces (about 20%) do not contribute crime figures to national surveys.
This means the number of dogs stolen is likely to be much higher and has also been increasing for the last five years. I estimate the real figure to be closer to twelve dogs stolen every day which is a very worrying trend.
Dog Theft is a High Impact Crime
However, it is not just the number of dogs stolen that you should be concerned about but two far more critical issues.
First, dog theft is a high impact crime with most victims left deeply traumatized by the experience, many describing the trauma as no different to the loss of a close friend.
It is the high impact side of this awful crime that is driving the government to introduce the new offence of Pet Abduction which will increase the maximum punishment to five years imprisonment and with significant financial penalties.
Only 25 Percent of Stolen Dogs are Recovered
A staggering number of victims around 75% will never see their dogs again. There are two main reasons why so few dogs are recovered. The first is due to the significant increase in number of specialist dog thieves. Career criminals that target specific dog breeds, puppies and locations who make vast amounts of tax-free money from stealing and breeding from stolen dogs.
The second is the practice of the specialist dog thieves in changing the appearance and then stripping the identity of the stolen dog, a practice known as Pet flipping. I will come back to this point.
The Golden Rule on Preventing The Theft of Your Dog
A supervised dog is rarely stolen.
Most dogs are stolen when left unsupervised in the owner’s garden or in their car. Therefore, if you reduce the amount of time, you leave your dog unsupervised you will proportionately reduce the window of opportunity for your dog to be stolen.
How to Improve Your Garden Security
Simple and easy to implement security changes can make a significant difference.
- Installing a padlock halfway down on the inside of your garden gate as opposed to the top is highly effective means of preventing an intruder from entering your garden
- Installing a doorbell camera will alert you to the presence of someone outside your property
- Ensuring that your boundary fences and hedge rows are intact will prevent your dog getting out more importantly also prevent an intruder getting in.
How to Improve Your Vehicle Security
Your dog is much safer left at home than in your car.
- If you regularly transport your dog around in a car, then now is the time to invest in lockable dog crate.
- When travelling with your dog always park your car with dog security as your priority not as an after-thought. Parking in areas of high footfall tend to have a lower risk.
- If you need provisions on the way home after returning from a dog walk, then petrol station forecourts are much safer locations than public car parks.
- Never leave a puppy unsupervised in your car, every thief knows the value of a puppy regardless of breed.
One of the main reasons that so few stolen dogs are recovered is because the thieves are removing or damaging microchips. Microchips are removed using a razor blade and the injury then sealed with superglue.
The thieves will then implant another microchip effectively giving the stolen dog a new identity – pet flipping – and making it far easier to resell to an unsuspecting buyer.
An increasing number of police forces around the UK are aware of this criminal practice and are now joining forces with the forensic science company Cellmark in the creation of a National Canine Forensic DNA database and Cellmarks’s DNA protected services.
Unlike a microchip a dog’s DNA cannot be replaced or damaged so the police only need to do take a swab from a suspected stolen dog and send it to Cellmark for analysis.
This bullet-proof method of identification will ultimately lead to the recovery of far more stolen dogs and a long overdue increase in the number of criminal prosecutions. You can find out more information about the canine data base via the link in the text.
Must See Security Videos Pet Detective TV
For more specific security tips on how to keep your dog safe please check out our YouTube site Pet Detective TV where you will find a collection of very entertaining short videos packed full of useful and easy to implement security tips on how to prevent the theft of your dog.