44 per cent of dog thefts in UK are by people known to the owner

Mike Jasper's dog Ted stolen in an unpleasant theft

Here is some more interesting information about dog thefts in the UK. This is a hot topic because of the pandemic which reportedly caused a surge in thefts because of dramatically increased demand by impulse adopters who were confined to their homes under social distancing rules.

Mike Jasper's dog Ted stolen in an unpleasant theft

Mike Jasper’s dog Ted stolen in an unpleasant theft. Photo: Lucinda Jasper.


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It was said that professional criminal gangs were roaming around the UK stealing dogs for huge financial profit. The UK’s first dedicated dog theft officer, Chief Inspector Amy Styles-Jones, has poo-pooed this media report by saying that police evidence tells them that 44 per cent of dog thefts in UK are by people known to the owner.

She said:

“Dogs are actually at risk of being taken or not returned by people you know – your friends, family, partners and ex-partners. We know that because 44 per cent of the thefts we’ve looked at were committed by people known to the dog owners. Looking at all offences since 2018, stolen dogs were returned in almost half the cases.”

The information comes from 131 recorded offences.

In 2020, 2,355 dogs were reported stolen, an increase of 7 per cent on 2019 according to police force data obtained by the Kennel Club. One in fifty thefts results in a charge. Since the pet theft task force commenced in May, 508 dogs have been stolen.

Styles-Jones claimed that the organised gang stories are exaggerated. A lot of dog owners have become scared of being targeted by these gangs. There were stories of houses being marked with paint visible with UV light to tee up gangs for a theft.

She said that in Nottinghamshire, over one third of dogs are stolen from their owner’s gardens. Comment: that sounds extraordinary. It implies a bold approach but perhaps the thieves know that the owner is out of the home at the time because of surveillance.