According to new research, thieves are stealing cats and dogs from all over the UK at an alarming rate.
The UK’s first-ever Pet Theft Census from MORE TH>N Pet Insurance, reveals how one in every five cat and dog owners have experienced the theft of a pet during their lives, with 53 per cent of those incidents occurring in the last 12 months alone.
The research, conducted with 4,865 cat and dog owners and 40 police forces, sought to catalogue in detail the full extent of pet theft across Great Britain. According to official police data, from January 1to October 31 2013, 911 cats and dogs were reported stolen in the UK. That’s the equivalent of three pets every day – and an estimated value of £311,000. When coupled with the figures from 2012 it means that almost 2,000 cats and dogs have been stolen at a value of £671,000.
Of the cats and dogs topping burglars’ most-wanted lists, it’s perhaps not a surprise that expensive pedigree breeds come top (61 per cent). While the average value of each cat and dog stolen was £284 and £389 respectively, nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of dogs and 15 per cent of cats were originally bought by their owners for £500 or more.
According to the findings of the Pet Theft Census, pets left in gardens were the most likely to be stolen (52%), followed by those at home alone (19%). Over half (51%) of owners that were the victims of a burglary believe the intruders broke in purely to take their pet. Looking at dogs specifically, brazen thefts while owners are out walking their dogs are commonplace (16%), while dogs tied up outside shops (7%) and left in cars (5%) are both easy targets for opportunistic thieves.
Yet, despite it being one of the most popular methods for a criminal to steal a dog, nearly a quarter of all dog owners admit they will tie up their dog outside a shop or supermarket and leave them unattended. Of those, 30 per cent do this every single week.