There are so many heartbreaking stories of beloved dogs being stolen that my heart breaks. One story of a boy who took his puppy for a walk and someone literally took the puppy from his arms.
We may not be able to stop the rise in pet theft but we can take measures to keep our dogs safe and help to raise awareness for others who are oblivous to the dangers.
Top Dog Breeds likely to be stolen
An opportunist may steal a dog from outside a shop if they see a dog tied up, but most pet thefts are planned and dogs are targeted, so it is very useful to understand what dogs are at risk and how to keep them safe.
These are the top dogs stolen last year:
1 – Working Cocker Spaniels
2 – French bulldogs
3 – Pugs
4 – Staffordshire Bull Terrier
5 – Cross breeds i.e. Labradoodles
6 – Chihuahuas
If you are buying a puppy then make sure you are buying from a reputable breeder, you see the puppies mother and father, if possible, and get the breeder certficate. Ideally, you want a puppy that is KC registered.
Source: Direct Line
Why are dogs stolen
The sad reality of some dog thefts are that they are are used as ‘bait dogs’ to train young fighting dogs. There was a recent photo of a dead pug dumped on the side of the road covered in dog bites. For dog baiting any dog could be stolen.
Other dogs will be stolen to order for breeding purposes, both males and female pedigree dogs maybe stolent from kennels and breeders or puppies maybe sent to puppy mills.
Pedigree Puppies will be stolen for their value and only 17% of puppies are returned to their owners, so there are many people buying stolen puppies.
Some dogs and puppies are stolen just to get the reward for returning them.
Others are sadly stolen and sold to companies that use animals for animal testing in laboratories. Class B Dealers obtain animals from all sorts of sources and sell them to end their days in a cage.
Top tips to keep your dogs safe
1 – Do not leave you dog tied up outside a shop
2 – Do not leave you dog alone in a car, even for a few minutes
3 – Vary your walks so people can not see you at the same place every day
4 – Ensure microchips details are up to date with correct contact information
5 – Your dog should always have a dog tag with contact details but don’t put dogs name on the tag
6 – Take photos of your dog and any distinguishing marks
7 – Have photos of you and your dog to show you own the dog
8 – Train you dog to come to call, ensure they have good recall
9 – Use repretable dog walker or boarding kennels when leaving your dog for any length of time
10 – Make garden secure and add a bell to the gate to alert you if the gate gets opened.
11 – Don’t leave your dog in the garden unsupervised
12 – If you breed puppies by very careful who you invite into see the pups. Have someone with you and show the puppies in a secure area.
13 – Write down who in the household owns the dogs and who would have the dogs in case of a relationship breakup
14 – Beware of strangers asking about your dog
What to do if your dog is stolen
1 – Report to local council dog warden immediately and surrounding areas
2 – Talk to people and let them know to look out for your dog and to contact you.
3 – Report to theft to the Police and get a Crime Number, ensure it is not recorded as lost
4 – Report to micro chip database immediately to ensure you get notified if anyone registers
5- Make posters and distribute them to vets and various places
6 – Notify vets incase someone takes the dog in for treatment
7 – Report the loss on all the missing dogs websites
8 – Contact Animal shelters and notify them
Don’t be complacent
When you take your puppy out for it’s first walk or start to introduce him/her to people, be vigilant and aware of the dangers.
Use a large training lead so the puppy has freedom to run but can not run off, it also gives you the opportunity to start the recall training.
If you have rescued a dog, take time to build a close bond and do some recall training in the garden before going out and letting them off the lead. Take treats out with you to help with recall or just be use sure to make a real fuss of them, some dogs just like to please.
It is tempting to add lots of photos of our new dog on social media, I have done, but I delete some after a few days. I dont tend to tag locations to show people where I walk.
I do believe that for most responsible owners, we can keep out dogs safe if we follow some of the above suggestions. If you go to walk your dog and see a white van or feel unsure, just go somewhere else and report any suspicious behaviour.
Dogs enjoy the freedom of being off the lead, exploring, flushing, swiming and they cant do that on the lead, so let the off and go for long walks and enjoy the excercise, just always have your mobile phone on you.