Rise in Dog Theft


More than 5,000 dogs have been reported to the police as stolen in England and Wales since the start of 2013, a BBC investigation has found. This is a rise of 22.3% in two years.

Image from CCTV of dogs being stolen

Reported dog theft stats are:

  • 1,490 in 2013
  • 1,599 in 2014
  • 1,776 in 2015
  • 423 in the first 4 months of 2016

The investigation also suggests that the most 'desired' breeds by thieves and therefore most likely to be targeted are Staffordshire Bull Terriers and small/toy 'designer' breeds like French Bulldogs and Pugs.

Conservative MP Gareth Johnson has called for a specific crime of pet theft to be introduced. He wants the government to recognise the effect dog theft can have on owners, stating that stealing a dog is "currently deemed no more serious than stealing other possessions".

However, the Ministry of Justice said: "We are aware of the distress the disappearance of a pet can cause, especially if there are suspicions it has been stolen. The maximum penalty for theft is seven years imprisonment and there are no plans to change this".

Source: bbc.com/news/uk-england-36590425

If your dog gets lost or is stolen, there are some things you can do. Our article Lost Dog - Things You Can Do includes advice on prevention and finding your lost dog.

Angela Hughes
31 July 2016  |  9:03

I have 3 dogs of the targeted toy breeds. My dogs are more than a "possession" and the fact that someone would describe them as that is insulting. These people do not care what effects dog theft has on families. They are not stealing inanimate objects they are stealing living breathing creatures. I would be devestated if any of my animals were stolen. There definitely needs to be harsher sentances for any crimes against animals.

31 July 2016  |  20:38

I completely agree with you. They are part of the family, there is a bond there, and it effects the owner/parent as well as the dog.

Maureen Holloway
22 October 2019  |  11:20

Severe punishment should be cast upon all dog thieves ,,if I was the judge I would put them in the stocksand leave them to the community ,take the survey to number 10 Downing Street.