The Staffordshire bull terrier has been revealed as the most commonly stolen dog as pet thefts saw a huge spike last year.
New research reveals the number of dogs or puppies stolen from homes in 2021 was up by around 70 per cent compared to the year before.
The study, conducted by insurer Gather, showed almost 80 per cent of dog owners had become more fearful about taking their pets out for a walk during the day.
While a staggering 83 per cent of pet lovers felt less comfortable taking their pooch out after dark.https://858dd493dbc225959325d52f9b5d7490.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html?n=0
According to the research the most commonly stolen dog was the Staffie, accounting for 17 per cent of pet thefts in 2021.
The second most common was the Chihuahua making up seven per cent of thefts followed by Jack Russells, French bulldogs and labradors.
A majority of the thefts reported – 52 per cent – were when the animal was in their front or back garden, with the next popular option, stolen during a break-in, only accounting for 19 per cent of thefts.
It comes as ministers revealed last year a new offence will be brought in to impose tougher penalties on those who steal pets.
Pet abduction was brought in after complaints were raised over the status of pets, as previously anyone taking a dog or cat would find themselves facing a theft charge.
The Theft Act considered an animal a possession with campaigners saying they are more like a member of the family.
While penalties of the new Act are yet to be revealed, it is thought they will encompass the emotional toll a stolen pet can have.
Legislation is expected to be introduced in parliament this year, meaning that it is unlikely to become law before 2023.
Research showed under the current laws, less than one per cent of pet thefts actually resulted in a charge, with only 22 per cent of people ever getting their four-legged friends back.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Pets are much loved members of the family in households up and down the country, and reports of a rise in pet theft have been worrying.
“Pet owners shouldn’t have to live in fear, and I am pleased this report acknowledges the unique distress caused by this crime.”
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