You probably know to keep your mobile phone or your wallet out of sight to reduce the risk of opportunistic thieves taking their chances. But, have you ever thought about protecting your dog from thieves?
Dog theft is not something that many people take into consideration when they adopt their furry companion. But with dog theft in the UK increasing year by year, more people are becoming aware of these dangers.
What is Causing the Rise in Dog Theft?
In the past years, the number of dogs being stolen increased by a scary 250%. Last March, just after the first announcement of a national lockdown, searches for ‘buy a puppy’ increased by 120%. ‘Pandemic puppies’ is really a thing!
People were looking for some extra company and new entertainment during the lockdown while they were stuck at home.
This provided the perfect opportunity for thieves to make some quick and easy money by stealing pups and selling them on to new buyers. Depending on the breed, dogs can sell for anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand pounds.
There is also very little punishment for dog theft. It’s a low-risk crime that can provide great rewards. Generally, dog thieves are charged a fine of £250 and that’s pretty much it!
How to Protect Your Dog from Thieves
Luckily, there are plenty of things that you can do to keep your furry friend safe and secure, even when you’re out and about. Here are some of the best ways you can prevent your dog from being stolen.
1) Supervise Your Dog in the Garden (or open spaces)
You may assume that your garden is a safe haven for your pet. However, low fences and lack of foliage can provide the perfect opportunity for potential things to quickly steal your dog while you’re not watching.
Keep an eye on your dog at all times when they are outside in your garden. You may also wish to invest in some taller fences and secure locks to make it much harder for thieves to enter your property.
2) Do Not Leave Your Dog Tied Up Outside a Shop
No matter how quick you are going to be in the shop, it is never appropriate to end your dog tied up by a bollard outside. A thief could easily come along and untie your dog without anybody noticing. Before you even get out of the shop, the thief could be miles away.
Avoid tying your dog up outside as you are shopping. Instead, kindly ask if the dog can be bought into the shop with you. If not, take your dog home and return to the shop alone at your convenience.
4) Keep Your Dog in Sight at Public Parks
The above also applies when you are in a public park. If you let your dog off the lead, make sure to keep an eye on them at all times. It’s easy to get distracted by chatting to your friend or people watching, but it is extremely important that you don’t let your companion out of your sight. It only takes a few seconds for somebody to snatch your dog away.
5) Get Your Dog Microchipped
A microchip is a small electronic device that gets implanted into your dog just under the skin by a trained professional. The chip contains a unique reference number that is logged onto a central database. This enables your dog to be identified using a scanner if they get lost or stolen.
As of April 2016, all dogs above the age of eight weeks must be microchipped by law. If you have recently adopted a pup, it's your responsibility to transfer the ownership details into your name to update the database.
All dog breeders are legally required to microchip any puppies before selling them to new owners. The microchip must be registered in their name before you transfer it into your own name. Failure to do so could lead to a hefty fine and potential rehoming of your dog.
Many advanced microchips also offer geotagging technology that allows you to track exactly where your pup is at all times. Therefore, if they get stolen, you can identify where the thieves are located and, hopefully, catch them and get your companion back.
6) Use a Personal Safety Alarm
Personal safety alarms can be used to protect your dog from thieves. If you’re out on a walk with your pup and a thief attempts to attack you in the hopes of stealing them, a safety alarm can not only protect your dog from being stolen, but it can save your life. This is particularly important if you are walking alone.
7) Be Wary of Strangers
It’s always important to be cautious when you are out and about, but especially when you are walking with your pup. You never know who is watching you!
Try to walk in busy, open areas where there are plenty of people around. If possible, take your dog out in daylight hours and take a friend with you for extra company and protection. Avoid walking during the night, as there are fewer people around and it’s much harder to spot neaby lurkers.
On a similar note, be careful who you speak to. Even more importantly, be careful what information you disclose to strangers on the street. They might seem like a friendly person who wants a quick conversation, but they could have ulterior motives.
If you are concerned about somebody who is lurking near to you in the street, find somewhere that is safe where you are surrounded by other people and contact the police.
Help to prevent the rise in dog theft in the UK by following the steps above and keeping your furry friend as safe and secure as possible!