Demand for dogs as pets has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. The cost of some puppies, on the website Pets4Homes, is currently as high as £3,000, making them a valuable commodity to criminals.
According to the website Dog Lost, the UK’s largest lost and found dog service, it is estimated that dog thefts have risen by 250 per cent, with criminal gangs involved.
Police & Crime Commissioner Keith Hunter wants local residents to take part in the first national consultation on this very topical issue. He said: “Around 2,000 dogs are reported stolen each year, but we know many more go unreported. Only around 1 in 5 are returned to their families. Currently, under British law, dogs are classed no differently than any other item of property under the Theft Act, meaning if criminals are caught, they are treated no differently than if they had stolen, for example, a mobile phone.
The theft of a much-loved pet, which can provide companionship to the vulnerable, can be extremely distressing and most dog owners consider their pets to be family members. Responding to this survey will help authorities to better judge the scale of the problem and inform how Government interprets or changes the law in the future.”
The 60-second survey will be open until 17:00 on Friday 12th March.
Click here to take the survey