Owning a dog can be a magical experience. You train them, bond with them and form emotional attachments to them. They essentially just become another member of the family. That’s why it’s so heart-breaking when something happens to your pup. One particular issue confronting pet owners these days is dog theft, or dognapping. A Daily Mirror investigation discovered that 1800 dogs across the UK had been stolen in the 18 months up to August 2016, with many then either sold on the black market or used for breeding purposes. The general public is so angry with such crimes that even British soap Emmerdale received a significant backlash for including a dog theft plot. With dognapping receiving more attention in the public sphere, here’s what you need to know…
How has it become a problem?
Dognapping has become an organised crime. Some have put the increase down to the combination of the law not being strong enough and some dogs being worth a lot of money. Although dog theft can carry a maximum punishment of seven years in prison, dogs are currently treated the same as any other personal possession by the law, so it is seen as a low-risk crime.
Which are the most commonly stolen breeds?
Dog thefts usually involve animals that are deemed particularly trendy or worth a significant amount of money. Staffordshire Bull Terriers are easily the most commonly stolen, with 361 caught up in dognapping incidents during the time scale mentioned before. That figure appears even more eye-opening when you consider that Chihuahuas are the second most commonly stolen dog, with 93 reports.
Where are the most affected areas?
Crime relating to dog theft isn’t as big a problem in some places as it is in others. However, during the 18 months leading up to August 2016, West Yorkshire was by far the most impacted county in the country, with 231 dognappings recorded in the area. London (180) and Kent (167) were the next most affected areas. At the other end of the scale, however, there were just six such incidents in Northants, and 15 in both Nottinghamshire and North Wales.
What measures of prevention are there?
In April 2016, it was made a legal requirement for dogs to be microchipped and registered on one of the national databases noted below. Doing so means there’s a stronger possibility of a dog being returned to their owner than ever before. Your pet is also more likely to go missing should you let them off a leash or left unattended, like outside a shop. Or, if you’ve not yet got a dog and are planning on buying a purebred, do a bit of research into the breeders and verify whether or not your prospective pooch might be stolen.
UK Microchip Databases:
Owning a dog is a big responsibility. They may be loveable, but many of them require constant care and attention – we all know how excitable they can get!
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