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Stats show young pedigree dogs most at risk of theft

Owners of young pedigree dogs should take extra vigilance this Christmas in light of new findings that show this group of canines are most at risk of theft.

Loughborough University criminologist Dr Louise Grove analysed data from www.doglost.co.uk which included 457 reports of dog theft from September 2011 to August 2012.

Figures show three quarters of the dogs stolen were pedigree, nearly half stolen were small or toy dogs, and half were described as puppies or young adults. Most dogs were stolen from the garden (49%).

Of those reported stolen, just over half (54%) were reunited with their owners.

Dr Grove has some advice to help owners reduce the chances of their pets being taken. She said:

“Whilst some dogs may be stolen to order, it is clear some dog theft is opportune. Owners can do a lot to minimise the chances of their dogs being taken.

“By microchipping your dog and placing a name tag on their collar including a contact number and postcode, it makes it easier to locate the owner of a lost or stolen pet.

“Owners should ensure garden boundaries are secure to prevent dogs escaping and roaming the streets where they may be more at risk of theft.

“Prospective dog owners should verify ownership of the dog before they take it home, and for younger animals should ask to see the mother.

“Dogs remain attractive to thieves because in many cases they can be sold on quickly and are not easily traced. Compulsory chipping of all dogs would play a huge role in reducing dog theft.”

Preliminary findings also show:

  • After the garden, the home, kennels, vehicle, farm and outside a shop were common places dogs were stolen from.
  • The sex of the dog makes no difference to its chances of being stolen.
  • From September 2011 to August 2012, 7262 dogs were listed as either lost or reunited on www.doglost.co.uk

Dr Grove's findings were featured on BBC Radio 5 Live Investigates on Sunday (22 December).