Dog theft in the UK: new police data exposes hotspots

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Recent police data has unveiled alarming statistics regarding dog theft in the United Kingdom, with London emerging as the worst affected area. The findings, obtained through Freedom of Information requests by Security retailer Safe.co.uk, show a trend that has seen nearly 10,000 dogs reported stolen to UK police forces since 2019.

The Metropolitan Police Service takes the lead in recording 1,842 dog thefts in the past five years, averaging 368 thefts annually. Other areas with a high incidence include Lancashire in second place with 737 reported thefts since 2019, closely followed by West Yorkshire at 727. Kent, South Yorkshire, and Northumbria complete the top five.

Among the counties least affected, according to the FOI responses, are Thames Valley, Lincolnshire, and Surrey. A total of 35 out of 45 police forces responded to the FOI request. Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Staffordshire, West Mercia, Wiltshire, North Wales and Police Scotland declined to disclosed their data. You can read the full list here.

dog theft pet theft pet abduction

Current UK law considers the theft of a pet no more serious than the theft of a commodity such as a laptop or a mobile phone, despite the far more devastating emotional impact. After years of campaigning and near misses, a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by Anna Firth MP aims to introduce a new criminal offence specifically for pet abduction.

Under the proposed Pet Abduction Bill, which is backed by the Government, individuals convicted of stealing a pet could face up to five years in prison, a fine, or both. The Bill has passed its second reading is now at its Committee stage.

Anthony Neary, managing director of Safe.co.uk, commented, “These figures reveal a worrying trend of the high number of dog theft cases in the UK and highlights that more needs to be done to prevent this crime. It is encouraging to see the government have taken notice of this and once passed, new laws should make thieves think twice about the impact of taking dogs.”

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