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Pet Theft Awareness

Pet Theft Awareness – everything you need to know

How much do you love your dog? If someone asked me that question, I would say that “I couldn’t imagine life without our two”.

Pet Theft Awareness Day {Dog Theft Awareness} #DogTheft #PetTheftAwareness #PetTheftAwarenessDay www.scruffylittleterrier.comDo you love them enough to learn more about Pet Theft Awareness Day? I thought it would be a good idea to support Pet Theft Awareness Day and help raise awareness of the increasing risk to our beloved pets.

Frequent Media Stories

Pet Theft Awareness Day {Dog Theft Awareness} #DogTheft #PetTheftAwareness #PetTheftAwarenessDay

When I was a child, seeing a dog tied up outside a shop, whilst the owner popped in, was not an unusual occurrence.

Now, I get upset if I see a dog tied up outside a shop, whilst people rush past him, sat there staring into the shop (sometimes whining), waiting for their owner to return. I wonder, why on earth would someone do that nowadays and it upsets me to see a distressed dog all alone. All it takes is a couple of minutes and the dog may not be there when the owner returns.

I’m sure anyone who owns dogs is increasingly concerned over the, all to frequent stories in the media, of puppies and dogs being stolen, from gardens, from cars and even our homes!

The most recent one that comes to mind, is the little boy who wrote to Santa, saying all he wanted for Christmas was his border terrier puppy to come home. Luckily, the little boy got his wish, his puppy was found (read the story here). Times like these are when the media, and social media, become a force for good.

Pet Theft Awareness Day

Pet Theft Awareness Day was launched in 1988 by the Last Chance for Animals organisation with the aim of educating animal owners, not just dog owners, on how to keep their pets safe from being stolen.

The day is designed to bring attention to owners the importance of pet identification methods, and hopes to get owners thinking about the importance of their pet in the family and the responsibilities that go with it.

So Pet Theft Awareness Day encourages everyone to take steps to ensure their pets are safe.

Dog Theft Is On The Rise

Pet Theft Awareness Day {Dog Theft Awareness} #DogTheft #PetTheftAwareness #PetTheftAwarenessDay www.scruffylittleterrier.comIn 2016, UK police forces dealt with 1,774 dog thefts, an increase of 19% on the previous two years. This works out at around 5 thefts a day, with only 1 out of the five being returned or found.

The real figure is likely to be much higher, as a survey of 2,000 dog owners found that 3% (the equivalent of 1.5 million people in the UK) have had a dog stolen in the past five years.

In the US around 2 million dogs are stolen every year and dog theft is on the increase in Australia and Canada too.

Thanks to Pet Theft Awareness Day, and social media, owners are becoming more aware and careful, but it is scary to know that,

11% of dogs are being taken whilst out on walks

however, you may be surprised to learn that

23% are taken from their own gardens and,

11% from the home.

The Most Stolen Breeds in the UK

The ten most stolen breeds in 2016, in the UK were:

  1. Staffordshire Bull Terrier ~ 42% of all stolen breedsPet Theft Awareness Day {Dog Theft Awareness} #DogTheft #PetTheftAwareness #PetTheftAwarenessDay
  2. Chihuahua ~ 9%
  3. Jack Russell ~ 7%
  4. Crossbreed ~ 5%
  5. French Bulldog ~ 4%
  6. Lurcher ~ 3%
  7. Labrador ~ 3%
  8. Pug ~ 2%
  9. Bulldog ~ 2%
  10. Cocker Spaniel ~ 2%

What You Can Do to Prevent Theft Or Being A Target

The following steps could help keep your dog safe from dog-nappers:

  • Please don’t leave your dog in a car alone, or outside a shop;
  • If you let your dog off lead, then ensure he has a reliable recall (practice this often and in different locations);
  • Whilst out on walks, be aware of what is going on around you, call you dog back to you frequently. Most people walk in the same places, get to know the other dog walkers, so you can advise of anything unusual that you notice;
  • Ensure you garden is secure, if you have a gate then make it is always closed and locked (fit a lock if needed);
  • Never leave your dog alone in the front garden, it only takes a few minutes for someone to walk past, pick him up, get into a van and go!
  • Ensure you home is secure when you are not there, if you have an alarm set it before you go to bed, many people are burgled at night and are not even aware they have been burgled till the morning (I have seen alarms now that the sensor knows when a dog is moving and does not set the alarm off!);
  • Neuter your dog, as this  make them less valuable to a thief who may want to breed puppies;
  • Ensure your dog is wearing a collar with ID tag, mention that your dog is micro-chipped, neutered and up to date contact details;
  • All dogs, by law, must be micro-chipped by the age of 8 weeks, it is your responsibility to ensure the microchip is registered on one of the 10 government-approved databases and that all details are correct and up to date.
  • Keep a recent photo of your dog, one when for when they have been groomed with short fur and one before grooming, dogs that have been groomed and clipped can look completely different! Make a note of any distinguishing features ie different eye colours; and
  • At least once a year, ask your vet to check your dog’s microchip can still be easily found and is working.

What Should You Do If Your Dog Goes Missing Or Is Stolen?

If the worse does happen and you think your dog has been stolen, or has gone missing, you will be upset and likely unable to think clearly.

It’s at times like these, that a close friend or relative could help you get the following points done, as the sooner these are steps are taken, the better the chance is of being reunited with your dog.

Pet Theft Awareness Day {Dog Theft Awareness} #DogTheft #PetTheftAwareness #PetTheftAwarenessDay

  • Ask friends, dog walkers and other dogs owners to start looking, spread the word that your dog is missing;
  • Create a poster, to hand out and use on social media, leave one in your local police station as officers might recognise your dog when out;
  • Put flyers on notice boards, through letter boxes and around your local area;
  • Social media ~ Facebook and Twitter are a great resource for getting the word out quickly. You might be able to find someone with a drone who would check the area where the dog was last seen;
  • Check your home and local area thoroughly; go back to the last place they were seen, leave an item of your clothing your dog might come back to it;
  • If your dog is missing, register your dog with a company such as Dogslost, the National Pets Register or Petslocated;
  • If you suspect your dog may have been stolen, contact the police;
  • Call your microchip company, they will update that your dog is missing and will alert them to anyone trying to re-register the same microchip number;
  • Call your local kennels, RSPCA branch, other dog rescue centres, dog warden and local vets to let them know and see if your dog has been handed in;
  • Talk to your neighbours, postman, milkman etc, as they may have seen your dog or observed something suspicious at the time they went missing;
  • Check online lost and found websites and sites that have dogs for sale;
  • Ask to check CCTV cameras, for vital information eg car registrations etc. Take screen shots of anything that maybe useful.

And Finally, A Happy Ending Story

Click here to read about Olive, the Cavapoo who was stolen from outside a shop. Luckily she was found, only a week later, having been sold to another couple, two and half hours drive away! They recognised her from pictures which were being seen nationwide.

As Anton Chekhov said:

“Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice”.

Print Off & Keep – Checklist and Poster

As an owner of two dogs, I found researching this piece really helpful, I hope you do too. Please do let us know if you have any other suggestions or tips to add to the above.

We have created a ‘What to do if your dog is missing/stolen’ Checklist and a Template Poster for you to use, if the worst should ever happen. You can find both the Template Poster and Checklist in our Resource Library.

Missing Dog Checklist {Resource Library} #MissingDog #StolenDog #PetTheft #Downloadable #Print www.scruffylittleterrier.comMissing Dog Poster {Resource Library} #MissingDog #StolenDog #PetTheft #Downloadable #Print


  1. Val Silver

    How horrible that people steal dogs. I can imagine the fate of those poor Staffies. I hope the penalty is as stiff as it would be for kidnapping any other family member. Great law requiring microchips. We need that in the US too.

    • Michelle

      At the moment the sentencing isn’t great, but there is a petition to get it changed, let’s hope they do!

  2. Monika

    So many dogs abandoned at the shelters and people go stealing other people’s dogs. I can’t understand what is in the heads of those thiefs.

    • Michelle

      I hate to say it, but, I think it’s mostly money. As owners we have to be more vigilant when out with our dogs.

  3. Tenacious Little Terrier

    Mr. N is neutered and microchipped and he wears a tag. And we’re always working on his recall. The list of top ten stolen breeds is different here and Mr. N’s breed mixes are both in the top ten!

    • Michelle

      Yes, the top 10 is different in the US, I think we to be aware at all times when we are out walking with our dogs. All to often, whilst I am walking, I see people who just don’t know where their dog is or what it is doing. Time to take those headphones off and pay attention!

  4. fashionbeyondforty

    Wow I had no idea that this day existed but I am SO glad that it does and SO VERY glad you wrote about it! Such an important topic and all of your tips make perfect sense! I bet a lot of pets are stolen because the person taking them thinks they are doing the pet a favor.

    • Michelle

      It seems to be getting worse, from what I’ve read dogs, in the UK, are stolen for breeding, dog fighting and to sell on to other people. Sadly, all money orientated motivations.

      • fashionbeyondforty

        Wow I know it happens around here a bit but not all the time. I am so sorry that it is happening all the time there.

  5. Ruth Epstein

    Fantastic post, my biggest fear is Layla going missing but her microchip is up to date plus she wears on her collar a wonderful disc from PetHub which can be scanned on a phone and all her info pops up. I am lucky though that she sticks to me like velcro in the park which does make life easier

    • Michelle

      It is my biggest fear too, I like the sound of the disc you have.


    One of the biggest stories on Twitter is the #UKCatKiller A maniac who stays and kills cats (now over 400!!!) so this is a very timely piece for every pet low worldwide.

    • Michelle

      That sounds awful, I haven’t heard of that story but it sounds dreadful!

  7. Debra Bailey

    Those statistics are scary. I honestly don’t know how anyone’s dog gets stolen though. Unless someone broke into your house, in my opinion it’s your own fault if your dogs gets napped. I would never tie my dog outside of a store, or leave them in the yard unattended for long periods of time. I’d never give a thief the opportunity to steal them. It’s terrible that this is happening, but it’s just as preventable with responsible pet ownership in my opinion.

    • Michelle

      I agree with you Debra, but hopefully these stories in the media will encourage people to be more aware and responsible, instead of walking round with their heads in the clouds or their headphones in their ears! (one of my pet hates!).

  8. Kamira Gayle

    Wow. This is such an important post. I’m in the US and have no idea 2 million dogs are stolen every year. It’s sickening, not only from a moral standpoint, but to know there are so many millions of unwanted dogs in kill shelters waiting for homes. SMH. I will be sharing your post. Information is power and sharing is caring.

  9. Jana Rade

    This is a terrible thing that isn’t talked about much. Even worse, dogs are often targeted by people who run dog fighting. It’s so important to be careful.

    • Michelle

      It is, we must always be aware of our dogs, I hope we can raise awareness!

  10. Beth

    We had a neighbor years ago that had her dog stolen from her backyard. It was just devastating. I have read that sometimes dogs are stolen and then “found” so the finder can claim the reward. Whenever I see photos of dogs tied up while their human is in the store, I realize that I could never take that risk. I hope this post helps people to keep their pets safe. And also, for potential buyers to question where the dog came from. A great site for helping reunite lost pets is Where Pets Are Found (

    • Michelle

      How very sad for your neighbour, I too hope that this post can raise awareness for dog owners! Thank you for reminding me of the Where Pets Are Found site too!

  11. Dolly the Doxie

    I wish that this subject was recognized in the US. Your post has some great information and reminders for pet owners. I believe in Chicago it’s against the law to leave your dog outside a shop. I won’t even let mine out in our backyard alone, too many pets are stolen here for dog fighting or to be sold on Craigslist. Thanks for the great post! Sandra and Dolly

    • Michelle

      Well done to Chicago for making it against the law to leave your dog outside shops! And well done for being so careful of your dogs, more people need to be aware!

  12. Robin

    It is horrible that the rates of pet theft are so high! What on earth is wrong with people? I guess I will never understand. Unfortunately, in my area, if a pet is truly stolen (not just wandered off), it has more than likely ended up in a dog fighting ring. They will use cats and other animals as bait animals. It is really nauseating.

    • Michelle

      It really is awful, how can we humans do such things to animals? All we can do as dog owners is to raise awareness for other dog owners.

  13. sadieandco

    Thank you for sharing this post. Pet theft is a topic that sends me into a complete tailspin (panic attack). I see the posts on Facebook and the stories on the news. My heart broke for the young man whose dog was stolen at knife-point! The reasons for these thefts can be horrific (as Robin pointed out previously). If I see a dog tied up, I try to find the owner and educate them as to what could be in store for their pet. Most people have no idea about such horrors. Thank you for sharing pointers for avoiding theft and keeping our companions safe.

    • Michelle

      We do see so many stories on Facebook and Twitter, which is horribly sad, but at the same time, it is making people more aware of pet theft and also is a great way to get the word out if your pet is missing/stolen.

  14. Cathy Armato

    It’s fitting that Pet Theft Awareness Day is the same day as Valentine’s Day. These are such important pet safety tips, thanks for sharing. I never leave my dogs unattended.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Luv Them

    • Michelle

      Thank you Cathy, hoping to raise some awareness amongst dog owners, the more who are aware and think about it a bit more, is a good thing.

  15. Sweet Purrfections

    It’s bad enough that pets can get lost, but to have someone steal them is terrible. Even my vet told me that if my cats ever got out, I probably wouldn’t get them back because they are Persians and someone would take them.

    • Michelle

      I do know that Persians are very desirable cats, I used to know someone that was told the same thing, he did let his cat come and go as it pleased though.

  16. Rachel

    This is my worst nightmare! These are great tips to share to help reduce the risk of theft! I’ll be passing it along to my other dog moms 🙂

    • Michelle

      Thank you Rachel, dog theft is on the increase here in the UK and it is heartbreaking for the families.


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