The Dramatic Rise of Dog Thefts In the UK
Happy Endings: I am a mug for feel-good stories, the ones with the happy endings, the ones that bring a lump to your throat and a burning sensation in the tear ducts. This is especially the case when it comes to dogs.
In the (1) Daily Mail the other day was a story about Fern the Sprocker (Springer and Cocker Cross) Fern had been stolen from her family when she was just one year old.
It was six years later when they got her back, she was found wandering the streets of Bracknell and handed into a Vets, they scanned her and found the original owners. Well done the Vets!
She had been used for breeding, and because of much-needed changes in the law recently, the breeders had probably thrown her out as no longer needed. She was in good condition except for a skin complaint
Out of a family of three children, Ethan was particularly affected as he was the only one born at the time of the theft. He had constantly asked when Fern was coming home as he was very attached to her. You can imagine their joy on getting her back 6 years later, a real happy ending. Thank god for microchips though the family had moved to the Isle of Wight their mobile telephone numbers had stayed the same.
Update Microchips: Always put a mobile number as well as a house number if you have one on the microchip information as people tend to keep their mobile numbers but change their landlines if they move. Update your microchip information if anything changes.
After reading the story I realised I had known about Fern when she was stolen, I had put Ferns reward poster on our facebook pages as we knew Rushett farm, my daughter has a dog walking and pet sitting business very near the farm. and we all kept a look out for her See picture above I have obviously removed the phone number.
This story also got me thinking about happy endings and feel-good factors and how most uplifting stories originally start with despair unhappiness and a deep feeling of loss.
Devastating Loss: Other than someone kidnapping my family members, I cannot think of anything more precious and devastating than someone stealing any of my dogs.
I have six and all have a place deep in my heart, along with all the others that have passed away over the many years that I have owned dogs.
The picture on the right is five of my working Cockers.ranging from 13 years to 7 months.
People often mourn the death or loss of a dog as much as they would a close family member or friend.
Unfortunately, dog theft has been with us for centuries it was noted by Charles Dickens that criminals were stealing dogs to ransom them back to their owners.
It was mainly rich people that owned dogs in Dickens time We now have over 8 million dogs in the UK and 50% of households own a pet
Dog Theft:: Many thousands of people go through the shock and despair of having their pets taken from them by criminals, Alarming statistics show that over the last four years dog thefts have increased every year,
Statistics show that the number of dogs officially reported stolen in the UK is five every day. However, I believe that figure is the tip of the iceberg for two reasons.
People may have lost confidence in our police, though in this case, the unfortunate reality is the law regards dogs as property in exactly the same way as a bike or mobile phone, meaning criminals often walk free from court or get a small fine.
The other reason is that police forces record this crime differently across the country. Pet thefts are often categorised as robbery or burglary hiding the true extent of the problem. This is big business for the organised gangs that are stealing our pets, and it is being treated as petty theft. Unbelievable!
I believe the figure is far greater, potentially 50 dogs a day. Sadly, only one in five dogs is reunited with its owner, leaving 80% mourning the loss of their pet.
Because of apathy in our police and judicial system, dog thefts are not being officially reported, instead, the frantic owners are turning to pet detective agencies, and online groups like the fantastic (2) Dog Lost Which is a free donation led organisation that helps thousands of pets to be reunited with their owners.
Organised Gangs: Dogs have been reported stolen from homes, cars and outside of shops and of course on walks and from gardens, people have been held at knifepoint whilst the dogs have been snatched. But why steal a dog?
There are organised gangs that drive round parks and streets looking for vulnerable people and dogs. Many dogs are stolen from front or back gardens. If a dog is off the lead dognappers can lure them with food towards bushes before clipping on a lead or looping a slip lead over their heads. I teach all my dogs not to take food off strangers unless they are given a specific command (3) The Jingler “OFF” Command
Gangs have been observed marking homes that have pets using chalk markings on nearby curbs or on the house itself. The marks can be letters or just symbols. Therefore it is worth keeping an eye for any suspicious new marks near your property.
Statistics published in 2018 state that London has the highest amount of reported thefts with 304 officially reported. Remember the actual figures may run into thousands because of the law and false reporting by numerous police forces.
Why Are Dogs Stolen?: There are a number of reasons, many are snatched by the dognappers, who then wait for a reward to be posted.
They then claim the reward giving back the dog they had actually stolen,
Blackmail, you will get your dog back if you pay them a ransom.
Some dogs are stolen to order to be resold to an unsuspecting or even a knowing buyer.
Females that are stolen to be bred from year after year.
Fortunately, recent changes to the law on the sale of dogs will in time put an end to puppy mills.
That law was a long time coming I have campaigned for the last 30 years to ban puppy farms and pet shops selling dogs.
This does not bear thinking about but the breed that is stolen the most is the Staffie. They are used as bait dogs or just fought until they die. Any dog could be used by the sadistic dogfighting fraternity. How anyone could get pleasure in seeing a dog been torn apart is beyond my comprehension. Sick deluded individuals. There are people living in this country whose original country of origin. treats dogfighting almost as a national sport.
Dogfighting is still legal in parts of Russia and Japan, It was banned in the UK in 1835 and has been outlawed in most of the rest world. Dog fights are held openly in parts of Latin America, Pakistan and Eastern Europe, and has gone underground in the U.S. and the United Kingdom.
In Afghanistan, dogfighting has seen a resurgence, after almost disappearing under the Taliban who outlawed the sport to prevent gambling. Animal cruelty arguments don't carry much weight in Afghanistan, where dogfighting is a big business and a source of income for the owners of champion dogs.
Another reason dogs are snatched is to sell to medical testing facilities for testing and vivisection, this area could be stopped by a simple change in the law that stipulates no dog can be sold without a vets letter stating the seller is the owner of the dog and stating the microchip number and no dog could be sold without a microchip. Fines for dogs without microchips should be a minimum of a thousand pounds
We Need a Change in The Law: Dogs are not property, they are a deeply loved member of our family, it is a tragedy if your dog is stolen it is an inconvenience if your phone is nicked; it does not have the deep emotional effect the loss of your pet causes. We need a change in the law and we need it now.
Parliament discussed a review to the law in July 2018 but rejected any changes to the current law pertaining to dog thefts. I fervently believe that animal theft should be a crime in its own right. The law should and must reflect the impact the crime has on the victims. Dogs are sentient beings, not inanimate objects.
However, with turbulent times in our government and parliament, I believe it is time to reignite the argument for a radical rethink on the current weak and pitiful laws pertaining to dog theft To this end I have started a petition asking for the law to be changed to make it a specific criminal offence to steal a pet and the sentence should be harsh and should reflect the anguish and distress it causes to the pets and the owners. Pet theft rips the heart out of families and wrecks lives. The law must reflect the enormous impact this crime has on the victims.
Unfortunately, they take about a week to publish the link to my petition please share with fellow dog lovers though you' are not going to be able to sign it until it is fully published https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/266931
7th July 2018
©Stan Rawlinson Doglistener
Dog Behaviourist and Obedience Trainer
My Thanks to Dougal's Army for the poster
(1) Daily Mail
(2) Dog Lost
This is the wording of the petition
Reclassify the theft of a pet as a specific criminal offence in UK law.
Currently, the law sees dog theft as the same offence as someone stealing your phone or bike. The law should and must reflect the impact the crime has on the victims and that should include the animals and the humans. Dogs are sentient beings, not inanimate objects.
Some police forces throughout the country are recording dog thefts as a petty crime akin to an inanimate object like a laptop. Pet theft rips the heart out of families and wrecks lives. The law must reflect the impact the crime has on the victims