Pet Theft – an Increasing Problem Worldwide

Pet Theft – an Increasing Problem Worldwide

As much as we wish it didn’t happen, it’s an unfortunate fact that pet theft, and in particular dog theft, is happening increasingly around the world. Part of this phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that dogs and puppies are becoming increasingly hard for people to obtain. Many breeds often fetch over $5,000 and sometimes even around $10,000.

Although so many people want to include a furry friend into their family, this price point is out of reach for many. The motivation for dog theft may be two-fold – for one, people may want to own a dog or puppy but cannot afford it, secondly, people may want to steal dogs so that they can sell them at a premium price point to make a profit.

Dog theft can have such a devastating effect on the owner’s family and unfortunately most perpetrators of the crime are not caught or prosecuted as it is so easy to just pretend to be a dog’s owner while in a public place. This crime sadly is a worldwide phenomenon. In the UK from the year 2015 to 2018 there has been a rise in dog theft of nearly 20%, from 1,545 in 2015 to 1,849 in 2018. These numbers only represent reported cases to the actual figure is likely to be substantially higher.

In the US it is estimated that around 2 million pets are victims of dog theft each year. Sadly, only around 10% of these animals are recovered by their owners. In Australia, the state of New South Wales averages 160 dog thefts reported each year, while in Victoria that number rises to over 180 each year. In Victoria in particular the number of dog thefts has more than doubled since the pandemic lockdowns, with this trend echoed in many other countries as well.

To protect your dog from thieves, make sure that your yard is well secured with a sturdy and reliable fence around all sides, make sure your pet is microchipped and all its details are up to date, and be vigilant when leaving your dog in a public place such as outside a supermarket or café.

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