Through the pandemic it’s estimated around 3 million new pets went to their new homes. Although it’s amazing to hear of so many homes getting new pets it has came with some negative consequences. One of them being pet theft.
Dog theft in particular is on the rise. It’s estimated in the UK that 7 dogs were stolen every single day in 2020. That’s a 170% increase from 2019.
So how do you keep your pet safe from theft?
1. Registered microchip
It’s super important your dog is microchipped and that you keep your contact details up to date. Check if your pet is registered on any Defra compliant database HERE.
2. Collar and tag
Your dog should always wear a collar and ID tag. The law in the UK states your name and address should be on this, but more recently many people just put their name and mobile number on the tag.
It can also be useful to put microchipped and neutered on the tag. A microchip let’s someone know to scan your pet and neutered may deter a thief as they cannot breed your pet.
Do not display your dog’s name on their collar, harness or ID tag. This can make it easier for thiefs.
Take lots of photos of your dog from plenty of angles, before and after grooming. Also make a note of any distinguishing features. (You can add these to your MyPet account if you’re registered with us.)
We also recommend having lots of photos of you and your dog. This helps prove ownership.
- Beware of strangers asking lots of questions about your dog, bending down to stroke them or cars slowing down around you.
- Vary your walking times and routes. Thieves may plan to snatch your dog by watching your routine.
- Consider walking with someone else. This makes you a less appealing target for a thief. Of course keep your attention on your dog if you do this.
- Never leave your dog tied up outside a shop, no matter how safe a neighbourhood is or appears to be.
- Do not leave your dog in the car alone. Not only could your pet overheat and die, it only takes a thief seconds to break into your car and steal your pet.
- Only let your dog off the lead if you’re confident in their recall. If you’re not confident use a long lead.
- Always bring your mobile phone and ensure you know how to quickly SOS from your phone and contact emergency services.
- Keep your pet in view in the garden, don’t leave them outside unsupervised.
- Make sure your garden is secure and lock any gates.
- It may also be useful to fit a bell on any gates to alert you if anyone opens them.
- CCTV may help deter thieves.
- If you’re going out make sure your doors are locked.
When choosing someone to care for your dog if you’re going on holiday or need a dog walker while you work make sure to:
- Use a reputable company
- Check reviews for the company / person you are hiring
With the rise in social media usage thieves are using this information to help them steal dogs and other pets.
Using social media a thief can choose certain locations and get a live feed of pets in that location. Follow the below points when using social media:
- Don’t put too much information about your dog online, such as where you live and work. Keep your privacy settings in mind.
- If you’re visiting somewhere, wait until you’re home to tag locations.
- When posting pictures be sure your address / details aren’t visible on any identity tags.
- Remain suspicious of strangers asking lots of questions online (In places such as facebook groups etc.)
A few other things to bear in mind
Many dogs are stolen by thieves who hope to breed from them and sell the puppies. Neutering your dog can help to deter these types of low life criminals. Neutering also has a number of other health benefits for your dog.
If you breed pets, take great care in inviting people in to view. Always have someone else present and limit how many people can visit at one time.
The worst has happened, my dog has been stolen!
- Act Quickly if your dog is suspected to have been stolen, dial 999 and always insist the police record it as a theft rather than a lost pet and get a crime reference number.
- Report the theft / loss to your microchip database. If you’re registered with MyPet you can do this very easily by logging in HERE. Check out THIS article on how to mark your pet as lost.
- Report the theft / loss to your local council’s dog warden and consider notifying other neighbouring councils.
- Post on social media and share far and wide including any local pet groups.
- Make posters and display them in your local area including dog parks, vet clinics, dog groomers.
- Contact local media and ask can they publicise the theft.
- Contact local vets and ask can they keep their eye out and request they scan the microchip of any similar dog brought in by someone they don’t know.