71 dogs stolen across Devon and Cornwall last year #PetTheftReform

71 dogs stolen across Devon and Cornwall last year #PetTheftReform

It has been revealed that Devon and Cornwall had one of the highest numbers of reported dog thefts in the country last year.

Figures show that our police force had 71 cases in 2018 – which is actually down from 95 the year before.

That makes us the area with the ninth highest number across the UK.

Across the country around five pups are stolen every day as numbers rise for the fourth year in a row.

A new FOI Report from Direct Line Pet Insurance1 reveals in 2018 there were 1,959 dogs reported stolen to UK police forces.

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier was the most targeted breed by criminals in 2018, with 88 reported thefts over the year.

There were also 53 reported cases of stolen cross breeds in 2018, likely to be due to the popularity of ‘designer’ dog breeds like Labradoodles and Puggles.

Chihuahuas have now overtaken the French Bulldog as the third most stolen breed, with 52 Chihuahuas reported stolen in 2018.

Breeds that have fallen in popularity amongst thieves include Huskies, which have seen an 88% reduction in the number of reported thefts over 12 months, Rottweilers and Springer Spaniels.

The Metropolitan Police Service (304), West Yorkshire Police (179) and Greater Manchester Police (161) reported the highest number of stolen dogs

Unfortunately, it’s not always a happy ending either, with only 17% of stolen pups returned to their owners in 2018, which is 25 per cent fewer than in 2017 when 23 per cent were reunited.

Steps to follow if your dog is stolen:

  • Firstly, check the local area and your dog’s favourite spots as your dog may have wandered off
  • Make your dog ‘too hot to handle’ by sharing on social media, putting up posters in the local area and informing local media – include pictures and any distinctive marks in any appeals, and ask others to spread the word
  • There are some specific sites set up to help find lost and stolen dogs, like doglost.co.uk
  • Report your dog as stolen to the police and provide them with as much detail as possible
  • Report your dog as stolen to local pet related services like vets, animal shelters, pet shops, dog wardens and the council. Provide photos, a physical description and the dogs microchip number
  • Report your dog to the microchip database