Pet theft has hit the headlines once again; Lady Gaga is the latest high-profile victim of dognapping when her bulldogs were attacked and stolen while out for a walk in Hollywood. According to a BBC investigation, 2020 was the worst year on record for dog thefts as criminals sought to capitalise on rising demand for pets during the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to campaigners, Priti Patel, Home Secretary, has promised to look at stricter measures to toughen up in this area.
Overall pet theft increased by 250% during last year, so it is no wonder that addressing this has become a priority. DogLost saw a 65 percent rise in dog theft to July 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. At the same time, there was also an alarming increase in illegal puppy farming.
Deep distress caused by pet theft
On average, six dogs were reported stolen every day across the UK, with only 22 percent of these finally being reunited with their owners. According to the Missing Pets Bureau, up to 38 percent of all animals reported lost have been stolen, with as many as 60 percent of these sadly never recovered. This low rate of return is a real concern, given the emotional distress caused to owners when a pet goes missing. Too often, pet theft is treated with the same approach as the theft of inanimate objects such as a laptop or mobile phone. This negates the depth of feelings that an owner has for their pet and ignores the investment they have made in a pet’s physical security and health.
Think about safeguarding measures
The Pet Theft Census reported that 52 percent of dog thefts take place from gardens; this might surprise some as a garden should be a safe haven. In fact, it appears that your pedigree pooch is at more risk at home than out for a walk. Animal welfare charities such as the Blue Cross share plenty of advice about protecting dogs while out and about and advice now is that owners should put safety measures in place before they leave pets unattended at home.
We are devoted pet owners at Aquarium and urge all owners to consider how to keep your dog, or any other type of pet, as safe as possible. Along with measures such as ensuring your dog is microchipped, an owner might consider a GPS tracking device for their pet and make sure the right insurance policy is in place to cover assistance with a lost or stolen pet should this ever be needed. If your dog is a breed at particular risk of theft, or you live in a higher risk area, taking precautions could make all the difference between happiness or heartbreak.