As dog theft cases surge across the UK, pet owners are being urged to remain vigilant to protect their furry companions from potential theft by pet insurance specialist petGuard. 

With approximately 2,000 dogs stolen annually in the UK, equating to about 5 dogs taken daily, the alarming statistics underscore the need for heightened awareness and protective measures.

“It is every pet owner’s worst fear. The thought of our beloved pets being stolen from us doesn’t bear thinking about but is a nightmare that more and more pet owners are experiencing,” says James Whitten, Marketing Manager at petGuard.

In 2023, the UK witnessed 2,290 reported cases of dog theft, representing a concerning 6% increase compared to the previous year. Notably, London alone accounted for 359 of these incidents. Additionally, despite efforts to reunite stolen dogs with their owners, only a fraction have been successfully returned, highlighting the severity of the issue.

Addressing the Problem: New Legislation

To combat the growing threat of dog theft, the government is proposing new legislation aimed at redefining pet theft as a ‘pet abduction’ offence. This change recognises the emotional value of pets to their owners beyond mere property. Under the proposed Pet Abduction Bill, individuals convicted of pet theft could face a maximum sentence of five years, along with monetary penalties.

In addition to legislative efforts, the proposed law seeks to streamline the identification and tracking of pet theft cases. This includes introducing new microchipping requirements for dogs and making microchipping mandatory for cats. Such measures aim to improve the chances of reuniting stolen pets with their families while deterring potential perpetrators.

James Whitten emphasises the importance of safeguarding pets and offers advice on ensuring their safety. “There are many steps you can take to keep your dog safe,” he adds. “At petGuard, we’re serious about providing cover for your beloved companion.”