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It may be a tough reality, but pet theft is on the rise. Being aware and vigilant is the best way to be sure your pet isn’t at risk, here we’ll run through some pointers on how best to protect your fur family, and what action to take if the worst happens.

Staying alert

No pet owner wants to experience the emotional trauma of having their pet stolen, and so taking extra measures to avoid the unthinkable is a smart way to reduce the risk. Whilst these crimes have been more prevalent in the news, and the numbers of pet thefts are on the rise, it’s worth remembering that this is still a relatively rare occurrence and so shouldn’t cause undue concern.

Why are they stolen?

Pet theft can be down to a number of reasons, usually for financial gain, whether that’s claiming reward money, holding pets to ransom or puppy farming, with the goal of selling those puppies on.

What breeds are most at risk?

Any dog can be a target, but being conscious of the most commonly stolen breeds is a good way to asses the risk. The most popular dogs range from smaller breeds like pomeranians, chihuahuas and maltese, to more robust breeds like Staffordshire bull terriers and French bulldogs. This, of course, is no guarantee that you are more or less at risk, as opportunist thieves will be less fussy than an organsied crime gang, but if you have one of these dogs, it’s worth remaining extra alert on walks.

Ways to prevent your pet being stolen

- Never leave your pet alone in a place that’s easily accessible to thieves, tied up outside a shop, in an unattended car or in a visible (low fence) garden

- Don’t post snaps of your dog in the same frequented location on social media, it will offer an advantage to thieves who will know your regular routine and route

- Be alert when you take your dog for a walk, and be sure to have a reliable command that ensures they come to you quickly when called

- Make sure your pet has an ID tag when out on walks and, as required by law, is microchipped

- Lock your windows and doors if you leave your pet home alone, being sure that burglars aren’t able to easily gain access to your pet

What you should do if your pet is stolen

- If you’re unsure if your dog has roamed or has been taken, be sure that you check your local area thoroughly before raising the alarm

- Contact the police and report the theft as soon as possible if you know your pet has been stolen. Ask for a crime reference number to ensure it’s logged as a crime rather than as an incident

- Alert the microchip database and report your pet as missing. This means if someone hands your pet in then you can be contacted easily 

- Spread the word in your local area, whether that’s posting on Facebook that your dog is missing, putting posters up in the local community or informing local vets and rescue centres

There’s no rhyme or reason as to why certain pets are targeted, and so there’s no need to dramatically change your routine or be overly suspicious , but staying alert and having a plan of action in case the worst happens will offer reassurance and keep your pet as safe and protected as they can be.