Today, a national survey, designed to understand public perception of dog theft, enforcement and the prosecution of offenders has been launched.
The Home Secretary is currently reviewing the issue of pet theft and what future enforcement may look like with potentially tougher penalties for perpetrators.
The responses to this survey will help inform the discussion on a national level and allow police forces to better understand the public’s views on this crime and how they might improve their response to those concerns.
Valuable commodity to criminals.
Demand for dogs as pets has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. The cost of some puppies, on Pets4Homes, is currently as high as £3,000, making them a valuable commodity to criminals.
According to Dog Lost, the UK’s largest lost and found dog service, it is estimated thefts have risen by 250 per cent, with criminal gangs involved.
Sussex Police recorded 31 dog thefts in 2020 but at least 12 of those were disputes over dog ownership between known parties.
Inspector Andrea Leahy from the Sussex Police Rural Crime Team said: “We support this national survey and the team are working tirelessly to collate information and intelligence on this worrying crime. We have dedicated officers covering the county who review every report that comes into us. We would like to encourage the public to report all suspicious circumstances and read our crime prevention advice on our website. We are dedicated to keeping your pets safe and target any persons believed to be involved in this distressing crime.”
The 60-second survey will be open until 17:00 on Friday 12th March.