There is a 6% increase in Dog Theft figures according to the Police for 2023 #PetTheftReform


• Dog thefts up 6% year-on-year – with 2,290 dogs being stolen and receiving a Crime Reference Number in 2023

• Drop in number of dogs returned to owners – 16% compared to 21% the year before

• XL bully thefts expected to drop with the sale of the breed prohibited

Across the UK dog thefts are up 6% year-on-year with 2,290 dogs stolen in 2023 – that’s an average 6 per day – with the Met Police, Kent Police and West Yorkshire Police reporting the highest number of thefts. Northumbria, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire saw a large spike in thefts. 

Sadly the number of dogs returned to their owners is also down, with figures from Direct Line Pet Insurance showing just 16% of pets stolen are returned to their owners the lowest number since 2015.

English Bulldogs and French Bulldogs are the most popular targets for thieves, with the XL bully third. 

1. English Bulldog

2. French Bulldog

3. XL Bully

4. Staffordshire Bull Terrier

5. American Bulldog

6. Dachshund

7. Shih Tzu –

8. German Shepherd

9. Labrador

10. Chihuahua

Please remember that not all police forces can provide dog or cat theft figures because pets are categorised as ‘other items’ in the way they record thefts for the Government’s Home Office Crime Report.

Despite the continued drastic increases in the targeting of some breeds by thieves, under the current law, there is still no specific crime for pet theft, with stolen dogs treated like other stolen property.

The new Private Members Bill by Anna Firth MP, for Pet Abduction, is working its way through Parliament and will have it’s third reading on 19th April. We need our precious pets moved from low priority ’property theft’ to a specific crime to protect the public and secure serious deterrents to stop this cruel crime.

The new restrictions for XL Bullies: 

Since 31 December 2023, it has been against the law to sell, give away, abandon or breed from an XL bully.

Since 1 February 2024, it has been a criminal offence to own an XL bully without an exemption certificate.

These restrictions will obviously cut theft figures although I’m sure these unscrupulous  breeders are already designing a new breed to exploit! 

Doglost have seen large numbers of XL Bullies surrendered and dumped, especially when talking to their Animal Warden contacts.  

Debbie, Chilli and Pepper on ITV news talking about Pet Theft and microchipping,dogs%20reported%20stolen%20in%202022.