I am sure you have all seen the alarming number of posts on social media about dog thefts recently. It is very concerning and likely that the increase is due to the demand for puppies/dogs during the Covid Pandemic and Lockdown restrictions. Due to people having more time at home, the demand for puppies increased and so the cost of puppies has escalated anywhere up to £4000 for some breeds. Now sadly dogs are valuable assets, and have become an easy target for thief's. They may be selling them on, using the dogs for breeding, holding them for ransom money, or keeping them for themselves.
Whilst certain breeds are more likely to be targeted like: Labradors, Dachshunds, Boston Terriers and French Bulldogs, all dogs are vulnerable and have a sale value.
Always keep a look out!
Where are dogs being stolen from
The most common place is from gardens, local parks, cars, on dog walks, homes and when dogs are left outside of shops. However there are thieves pretending to be RSPCA inspectors/dog wardens, and even have logos on their vehicles.
What to look out for
Anyone that you do not know taking photos/videos of your dog
Anyone asking a lot of questions about your dog
Markings on you house or outside walls, put there by thieves to indicate a dog lives there
Coloured ribbons tied outside your house, this also indicates a dog lives there
Blue balls in your garden, again put there as a marker
Suspicious people watching you or your dog whilst out walking
In some cases the thieves are working in teams/groups, so keep an eye out for anything suspicious and report it to the police immediately. If you can take a photo or video of the person/vehicle and ask any witnesses for their help.
What can you do to prevent your dog being stolen
Make sure your dog is microchipped and details are up to date
Ensure your house is alarmed
Do not leave your dog in a public place unattended, even for 5 minutes
Always keep your dog in sight when out walking
Do not leave your dog in your car if you are not there
Carry a whistle, alarm or body camera
Be vigilant when walking your dog
What to do if you or your dog is approached when out walking
Do not give out information about your dog
Get your dog back on lead and get to a safe place
If your dog is nervous/not keen on people, let them off lead so they can get away
Back away slowly and get home as soon as possible
Use a whistle to draw attention
If your dog does unfortunately get stolen, social media has made a big impact on returning dogs to their owners. Dog S.O.S Derbyshire have done an outstanding job to find many missing and stolen dogs.
So after contacting the police, list your dog on sites like: Lost and Found pets in Chesterfield, Dogslost.co.uk, Lost and Found Pets UK just to mention a few. And spread the word far and wide to make your dog too hot to handle.
Keep safe and enjoy your fur babies!