Orchard Vet's Blog

Rise in dog thefts across England


A BBC investigation has found that more than 5,000 dogs have been reported stolen to police forces in England and Wales since the start of 2013. The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, show a 22.3% rise in reports in two years to 5,288 dogs: 1,490 in 2013, 1,599 in 2014 and 1,776 in 2015. In the first four months of this year, there were a reported 423 thefts.

Gareth Johnson MP has called for a specific crime of pet theft to be introduced. He argues that stealing a dog is currently deemed no more serious than stealing other possessions. The Ministry of Justice said that courts have been told to account for emotional distress when sentencing - however, the maximum penalty for theft is seven years imprisonment and there are no plans to change this.

Breeds of dogs targetted by thieves appear to fall into two categories. Gun dogs such as Labradors, cocker spaniels, and springer spaniels were being taken for working purposes but thieves also target Staffordshire bull terriers and tiny toy-designer breeds, like miniature French bulldogs, and pugs, for illicit breeding.

However a number of forces have reported a fall in thefts compared with their 2013 figures and, happily for clients of Orchard Vets, this includes the West Midlands.

You can read the BBC report, including a breakdown of reported thefts by area, here.