Adult Cavaliers and puppies are now worth thousands of pounds. Dog theft has been slowly rising for years but due to the current pandemic and lockdown, the demand for dogs and puppies is unprecedented. The number of stolen dogs increased by a massive 250% in 2020.
Cavaliers are now commonly being sold for in excess of £2500, only a year ago a Kennel Club registered, health tested puppy would have been in the region of £1100-£1400. Unregistered puppies from untested parents were sold for approximately £700-1100. Undesirable breeders without licenses have been listing and selling puppies for many thousands of pounds with no problems so this is no more difficult for a dog thief to do.
Pregnant dogs, or dogs with puppies are at even more at risk of theft. Young puppies still with their mother are not yet microchipped so for identification purposes it makes it much easier for a thief to get away with it, of course they also command a much higher price.
We are hearing stories every day on the news and via social media of dogs being stolen from gardens or house break-ins. Dog owners have been followed and stopped on walks and have had their dogs taken from them. Dogs are even being violently stolen from parked cars or when stopped at traffic lights.
Very worryingly now we are hearing multiple reports of a scam where an individual or pair of dognappers claim to be an RSPCA worker, or the local dog warden. They have the same uniforms as an RSPCA/SSPCA inspector and sign written vans matching the vehicles used by the charities. The thieves claim that they need to scan your dog for a microchip before putting the dog in their van and making a quick getaway.
We have also been informed that there have been thefts made by delivery drivers. They have taken great interest in the names and details of the dogs at a property and returned at a later time.
The attacks on dog owners have also become very violent. People are being threatened at knife point, dog leads are being cut and dogs are being forced from their owners arms.
The thefts are becoming so common and not only is your dog in danger but you are also. It is terribly sad for us all to be in this situation, but we feel for the short term at least we all need to adapt our behaviour with our dogs to keep them safe. What can we do to lessen risk of dog theft?
Some potentially more positive news, Priti Patel Home Secretary is considering giving offenders of dog and animal theft harsher penalties, lets hope this happens very soon. The ‘Make dog theft a specific criminal offence‘ petition gained so much traction and resonated with so many of us that there are currently more than 248,000 signatures. Please do sign.
In the meantime, stay aware of your surroundings and please don’t think “It’ll never happen!” Dog theft is a very real problem and can happen to any one of us at any time. Please take care and be very vigilant, there are a few things you can do to help ensure your dogs safety.