At this moment in time, if your dog is stolen it is treated the same as your phone being stolen - the criminal will barely get any repercussions if they are caught.
This is because stealing a dog is stealing the property of someone else - which is obviously not correctly classified. That's why a new law is coming in to help protect pets which makes stealing a dog a criminal offence with serious jail time.
However, since lockdown started in 2019, pet ownership (especially dog ownership) soared with many more people working from home and now able to look after a dog. This increase in demand made puppy prices skyrocket - cocker spaniels that were £800 pre pandemic were being sold for +£3,500, French Bulldogs were £1,200, were now +£4,000. Unfortunately the knock on effect was that dogs were now hugely prized assets, especially for breeding - so the rate of theft went up massively.
In fact, in the UK, dognapping went up 250% in the lockdown period.
We want to give you some amazing tips on how to stay safe and protect your dog.
5 Tips to Stop Dog Theft in the UK
It is a legal requirement in the UK to have your dog microchipped - it's also a good idea to have "I am Microchipped" on the collar. This will deter thieves because if they took the pet into a vet or if it was found, it would be easy to determine that the dog doesn't belong to them and it was stolen.
On the topic of tags and dog safety - it's important to not have their name on the collar, this is because it makes it easier for thieves to call them away once they learn your dogs name.
2. Cut the Small Talk
Part of having a dog is the social side of it - however, if someone without a dog is coming up to you and asking too many questions then we would recommend to avoid answering or moving away.
Questions to be wary of are:
"How old is it?"
"Is it a boy or girl?"
"Do you live around here?"
We aren't suggesting to be anti-social, after all, some of the best part of having a dog is chatting to others - but be careful with who you're speaking to, especially if they are showing particular interest in the dog and don't have one themselves.
3. Personal Safety Alarms for Dog Walkers
This is what we do at Ashley, we make personal safety devices that work - they are some of the loudest alarms in the UK and deter potential attackers or criminals.
Having one on you signals to them that you're prepared, and if they do try to take it then you can activate the alarm which will alert others around you.
The ear piercing sound and flash strobe is hard to miss so others should look in your direction and come to help. Criminals do not want to be seen in the act of committing a crime so this is a great method of stopping that. Dog walkers have given incredible reviews of the Ashley personal safety alarm.
4. Stay in Open Spaces
When the dog is off the lead, make sure you're in a wide open space, this means that you will be able to see people coming in your direction and leave if you feel uncomfortable before they get to you.
If there are "dog parts" of a park then stick to those, if someone without a dog is coming then simply move away. If they follow you then don't hesitate to use your personal safety alarm to warn them away.
We would also recommend to vary the times of day you take them out so there isn't a routine other people can adjust to and plan for.
5. Social Posts
Avoid posting on social media too much about where you are and what you're doing - you don't want people to know your whereabouts and where you live etc.
Lets say you're out for dinner and your dog is at home and you've posted previous pictures about where you live - it becomes much easier to steal your dog in these instances