Chronicles

The dog breeds most at risk of theft as dognapping rises in lockdown

Dog thefts have gone up by almost a fifth during lockdown, shocking new figures have shown.

An estimated 2,438 dogs were reported stolen last year, up 19% from 2019. But only 22% were reunited with their owners.

Staffordshire Bull Terriers continue to be the most popular breed of dog targeted by thieves, according to analysis by Direct Line Pet Insurance, with 97 dogs stolen in 2020.

Crossbreeds remain the second most targeted, with 52 dogs stolen last year, although this was a fall of nearly a third compared to 2019.

Cocker Spaniels became the third most commonly stolen in 2020 with 34 dogs taken.

Meanwhile Springer Spaniels are also being targeted, with 16 dogs taken last year, up from just three in 2019.

Other popular targets include Chihuahuas and French bulldogs, which each saw a reduction in the number stolen compared to last year, but still saw 12 of each breed stolen from British homes in 2020.

Regional data suggests the North West is now the nation’s dog theft hotspot, accounting for 15% of all reported thefts in 2020.

London was second, accounting for 13% of all thefts, followed by the South East and Yorkshire.

Experts fear increased dog ownership and soaring prices for pups during the pandemic is driving the surge in thefts.

Dog owners are being urged to be extra vigilant and keep microchip details up-to-date as many begin to return to offices as restrictions ease, reports The Mirror.

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Madeline Pike, veterinary nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance, said: “It’s incredibly sad to see the number of dog thefts rising by such a large proportion in 2020.

“Unfortunately, it seems the increase in dog ownership over lockdowns has also translated to a rise in dog thefts, as thieves know how valuable some of these breeds can be and see them as a commodity rather than a beloved member of the family.

“The worry is these numbers will increase even further this year once dogs are left alone more as restrictions ease and we return to a new ‘normal’.

“Taking simple precautions like not leaving your dog tied up outside a shop or keeping it on the lead when in busy areas, will help reduce the likelihood of being targeted, while making sure microchipping contact details are up to date can help identify a dog if it is stolen and handed in.”

Chihuahuas are also on the list
Chihuahuas are also on the list

Top targets

List shows breed / percentage change

1. Staffordshire bull terrier 9%

2. Crossbreeds -31%

3. Cocker Spaniel 26%

4. Bulldog 23%

5. Labrador 189%

6. Jack Russell 92%

7. Border collie 54%

8. Springer spaniel 333%

9. Chihuahua -76%

10. French bulldog -33%

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