Dog lovers are being encouraged to ‘paws’ for thought and keep their dog safe from thieves during national Pet Theft Week – 14 to 21 March.
In light of official police data, which shows that from January 1 to October 31, 2013, 911 cats and dogs were reported stolen in the UK - the equivalent of three pets every day.
Now Jerry Green Dog Rescue is reminding owners of the steps they can take to avoid falling victim to theft.
The data was published as part of a recent Pet Theft Census of 4,865 cat and dog owners, which revealed more than half of the dogs stolen were taken from gardens, 19 per cent during a house break-in, 16 per cent from owners while walking dogs and seven per cent while tied up outside shops.
The five most popular dog breeds to be stolen were Staffordshire bull terrier (15%), labrador (11%), spaniel (8%), German shepherd (8%) and Chihuahua (6%).
“Sadly dog theft is becoming a big problem and our centres have noticed more people contacting us with reports of suspected dog theft,” said Angela Salisbury, head of operations for Jerry Green Dog Rescue, which has a centre in Algarkirk.
“Pet Theft Awareness Week is a great opportunity to remind people of the simple steps they can take to help keep their dog safe from thieves.
“Don’t leave your pet tied up outside of shops or unattended in gardens; it’s even risky to leave your dog alone in a car.
“Make sure your details are clearly labelled on your dog’s collar or a tag; it’s not only a legal requirement but can help to identify your dog if it is stolen. By April 2016 dog owners will also have a legal duty to microchip their dog. We offer a free microchipping service at all of our centres and would strong recommend getting this done as soon as possible.
“Report any suspicious activity to police and never buy a dog or puppy from a non-reputable breeder.
“And finally, if you want a new pet consider a rescue dog; we have over 160 that need a new home.”
Arnot Wilson director of the Dog Union and co-founder of Pet Theft Awareness also commented: “We are absolutely delighted that Jerry Green Dog Rescue is supporting Pet Theft Awareness Week.
“We hope with their encouragement people will become more vigilant in preventing their pets from being stolen in this ever growing crime.
“Missing dogs are not all fortunate enough to be handed in to one of Jerry Green’s centres for reunification.”