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Pet Theft Awareness

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About pet theft awareness

Pet Theft Awareness was formed in February 2013 by Arnot Wilson and Richard Jordan.


  • To educate people on the preventative measures that they can take to avoid their pets from being stolen and to provide them with information to action should they be unfortunate enough to lose their animal.
  • To campaign for tougher penalties to deter pet theft which includes custodial sentences and for police and courts to have tougher and stronger powers to prioritise the theft of pets over the theft of objects.


Unfortunately accurate statistics are hard to come by because in the eyes of the law a pet, be it a horse or dog, are categorised as chattel. However there are some figures available.

Source: Pet Theft Census []

Types of dog stolen:

  • 47% of stolen dogs are small or toy
  • 14% described as large or giant
  • 50% puppy or young adults

Dr Louise Grove criminologist Loughborough University. []

Most popular breeds stolen


  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier (15%)
  • Labrador (11%)
  • Spaniel (8%)
  • German Shepherd (8%)
  • Chihuahua (6%)


  • Siamese (38%)
  • Persian (38%)
  • Ragdoll (11%)
  • Maine Coon (10%)
  • Bengal (6%)

There is no preference for sex

Source: Pet Theft Census []

Chances of Return

46% of dogs still missing after 12 months. Source: Dr Louise Grove criminologist Loughborough University. []

Reasons for stealing

Since the introduction of tighter controls on scrap metal dealing, there appears to have been a substantial increase in pet theft. The laws are archaic with regard to pet theft and thieves are finding it a reasonable source of income without little penal consequences.

  • Ransom** – this has been a practice used for many years and there is little evidence that this is wide spread but figures are scant because most deals are done without notifying police.
  • To order* – Some dogs maybe targeted to order particularly were the background of the dog is known. It could also be stolen by the thief for his own use such as in the case of gundogs for poaching.
  • Dog fighting*** – It is alleged that some dogs are taken as bait for dog fighting and Staffords for fighting as well as guarding. This is probably substantiated by the high proportion of Stafford thefts.
  • Selling on* – with the advent of the internet and the free classified advertising websites, it is easy to sell dogs and deliver them to the buyers at car parks or motorway services.
  • Breeding – Breeding bitches can be sold within a community and those that are found can be hundreds of miles away from where their owners live or the thief can breed from the bitch and sell the puppies on himself.

*[] In the last year thefts of gundogs – particularly from kennels – has quadrupled. One Sussex gamekeeper was targeted twice in three days with a total of seven dogs taken. Whilst most are being used or sold on it the UK, it is believed that some are stolen to order and taken to Ireland or Europe. ** [] ***[] *** []

General Articles

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The above facts have been complied by Pet Theft Awareness