Posted 4 months ago ago
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As dog owners, the thought of anyone snatching our precious furbabies is absolutely unimaginable. It’s a pain we just don’t want to think about.
But the rise in dog thefts over the past year is something we just can’t escape from - ignoring it is probably one of the worst things we can do.
We need to do all we can to stop this from happening to us, and sometimes, being vigilant just isn’t enough.
Wondering if your pet is at risk?
New research from money.co.uk analysed Freedom of Information data on the number of dog thefts people have reported in the last five years, as well as which types of dog were most commonly stolen.
While it found that London had the highest amount of reported thefts, the top four outside of the capital were all in Yorkshire.
Leeds was the nation’s dog theft hotspot, with 346 thefts in the last five years, followed by neighbouring Bradford (244), Sheffield (129) and Huddersfield (128).
Other towns and cities in the top ten included Blackpool, Newcastle, Sunderland, Bristol, Northampton, Plymouth and Leicester.
Breeds most likely to be stolen
The data revealed the top three breeds most likely to be stolen.
It seems these heartless criminals have a breed of choice - Staffies.
Staffordshire Bull Terrier - 367 thefts
Staffordshire Bull Terriers are among the most popular dogs in the UK, so perhaps it’s little surprise that they’re one of the most commonly stolen dogs.
However, taking into account the various crossbreeds, Staffies actually account for 19.4% of dog thefts over the last five years.
Chihuahua - 163 thefts
Not only are Chihuahuas understandably a very desirable dog, but their tiny size, unfortunately, makes them an easy target for criminals too.
This desirability also gives them a high resale price, with 163 being stolen in the last five years, although that’s still fewer than half as many Staffordshire Bull Terriers.
French Bulldog - 149 thefts
Another small breed of dog is the third most commonly stolen, the French Bulldog, with 149 thefts in the last five years.
Frenchies have grown in popularity over the last five years, but unfortunately, this means that thefts have as well.
Frenchies usually cost between £1,000-£2,000 but can be worth upwards of £3,000, up to £10,000, so it’s easy to see why thieves target them.
How to protect our dogs from thieves
While the thought of our pets being taken is a scary thought, there are some measures you can put in place to help protect them.
There are also a number of gadgets you can buy to help keep them safe and give you some added peace of mind.
Money.co.uk had some tips for us owners, they include:
If you haven’t already, it’s vital that you ensure that your dog is microchipped, not least because it is now required by law. This ensures that your dog can easily be identified and returned to you if they get lost.
While it’s always nice when friendly strangers come up to chat to you and say hello to your dog in the park, do remain vigilant of people you don’t know. Always be aware of your surroundings and keep a close eye on your dog. Don’t let them off the lead unless you’re sure that they will come back to you!
Keep your garden secure
Try to keep your dog in view when it's in the garden, especially in the front garden if it can be easily accessed from the street. Make sure that any gates are locked and consider fitting a bell so that you can hear if anyone opens it.
Be careful on social media
As much as you might want to share pictures of your dog online, it’s important to be careful. Try not to give away information such as where you live and walk your dog, or take a look at your privacy settings.
Take out pet insurance
Dog insurance doesn’t just protect your dog from expensive veterinary treatments, but some policies will also cover the cost if your pet is stolen or goes missing (sometimes known as ‘missing pet cover’). The very best policies will also cover any costs of advertising if your pet gets lost.