Home > Dog Safety > Dognapping

Dognapping

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 21 Apr 2013 | comments*Discuss
 
Dognapping Stolen Dogs Dog Theft Missing

Pet lovers will be horrified to hear that according to new research dognapping is becoming the fastest-growing crime in the UK and is still on the increase, with the stolen pet market booming. Over 40,000 dogs are reported missing each year, with the Battersea Dogs and Cats home receiving nearly 7,000 reports to its Lost Dogs and Cats line.

Who is at Risk?

Any dog can be a target, particularly if it has especially striking or attractive colours, coat or markings. Pedigree dogs seem to be most at threat as these dogs can be re-sold for substantial amounts of money. Dogs believed to be of “fighting type” are also at greater risk as they are often stolen for use in underground dog fighting rings. Dogs that are often left to wander around instead of being secured on their owner’s property are more likely to be picked up. Dogs with poor recall, who run off when let loose in the park, are also more likely to go missing. The breed that seems to be stolen the most often is the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, with numerous demands made for cash in exchange for their safe return.

A Cruel Game…

Many dogs are taken so that the kidnappers can then blackmail, coerce or bully the owners for money. They will wait until the owners start to putting up posters offering rewards and then contact the owners, claiming either to have found and ‘rescued’ the dog or even just demand a straight ransom for safe return of your pet. Some demands by dishonest “finders” have come to nearly £1,000 with frantic owners helpless and in despair.

How to Protect Your Dog

  • Get your dog microchipped and/tattooed. This can make the crucial difference for the dog being identified and returned to you. A microchip is implanted just beneath the skin at the scruff of the neck through a simple, painless procedure performed by your vet and it will remain there permanently where it can be picked up by a special scanner and then traced back to your name and contact details on a central register. (Always remember to keep your microchip and pet identification details updated when you move house or change any of your contact numbers.)
  • Make sure that your dog always wears a secure collar with a clearly visible ID tag on it at all times, bearing you contact details (this is actually a legal requirement and you can be fined if your dog isn’t wearing a collar and tag) – however, it might not be a good idea to put your dog’s or your own personal details on the tag, in case this information is used by the dognappers.

  • Ensure that you have strong, adequate fencing around your property and that you test it to make sure that your dog can’t slip through any gaps, climb over the top or burrow under. Never underestimate the ability of dogs to escape – some dogs are consummate escape artists and can devise very clever ways to overcome your fencing. In some cases, you may need to dig fencing several feet underground to prevent digging and burrowing out and also make sure that it is high enough that your dog cannot scale it. Do not assume that just because your dog is small, a short fence will suffice – many of the smaller dogs are some of the world’s best jumpers and can clear taller fences that will stop many a larger dog. If you are unsure of your fencing, don’t leave your dog unattended in the garden.

  • Secure fencing will also make it harder for opportunistic thieves to break in.

  • Always make sure that you shut all doors and gates firmly (and ask any visitors to do the same) and do not leave windows open wide enough for your dog to jump out, if it is likely to escape that way.

  • NEVER let your dog out on its own to wander around the street or the “village green”.

  • Always keep your dog on lead unless it is in a designated off-leash area. Keep it on lead near main roads and in busy areas, where it is likely to run off and go missing.

  • Spend time training a good, solid recall – get professional help if necessary – and do not let your dog off the lead unless you are confident that he will return when called, even in the presence of distractions.

  • Be a bit wary of over-friendly strangers who ask for a lot of information about your dog, particularly if it is territorial and where it is kept.

  • Never leave your dog tied up, unattended outside shops and other buildings.

  • It can be a good idea to keep a DNA sample from your dog (you can do this by swabbing a cotton bud on the inside of your pet’s mouth and then sealing it inside a clean, sterile container) which will provide indisputable evidence that your dog belongs to you.

  • It is also a good idea to neuter your pet, whether male or female, as neutered dogs are less inclined to roam.

A website has been set up by a dog owner whose own dog was stolen, to help other owners find their lost pets. Around 1,200 dogs have now being reunited with their owners through www.doglost.co.uk and this can be a good first port of call should your dog go missing.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
In the last week I have been told to be vigilant when i take my dog walks as there is a spate of dog-napping in my area. A-lot of sad stories going around -dogs snatched from gardens and people with dogs approached and being threatened if they wont hand over thier pets to these crooks. Regards.Mr.A.D. Ayrshire.
jock - 21-Apr-13 @ 5:56 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • SaferPets
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Cami - Your Question:I am rent a room and I am livibg with my landlady she got a dog.but for 3 months she is not coming home just sometimes to…
    13 November 2017
  • Cami
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I am rent a room and i am livibg with my landlady she got a dog ..but for 3 months she is not coming home just sometimes to take some clothes…
    11 November 2017
  • saxonheidi
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Harleydog.. contact the police and don't take no for an answer...The other person did not have control of their dog and that is against the…
    5 November 2017
  • Harleydog
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Morning my dog was attacked yesterday by a off leash dog, mine was on lead. Resulting in my dog needing stitches , were do I stand with the new…
    1 November 2017
  • Junet55
    Re: Introducing a Puppy to Other Dogs
    Hi I'm getting a new puppy, can she go into my boyfriend's house (he has an unvaccinated dog) if I don't allow physical…
    29 September 2017
  • Gill.
    Re: Safe Dog Breeds for Elderly People
    @Karen - dog rescue centres do re-home dogs with the elderly and a dog that needed minimum exercise would be required, or…
    26 September 2017
  • Karen
    Re: Safe Dog Breeds for Elderly People
    My mother in law is 86 and has just had to have her alsatian put to sleep after being her companion for 15 years she is…
    25 September 2017
  • Vetnurse90
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    @Dionne - You can clean the wound with a non-stinging antiseptic diluted in warm water. Only if you notice changes…
    15 September 2017
  • Dionne
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    Hi, my collie was on her walk and ran over some barbwire witch seems to have cut her around her nipple it was only…
    12 September 2017
  • MinesaPug
    Re: Treating Poisoning
    @Kbentley - I hope so. It would depend on how many one ate. At least they are in good hands and the vets are the right people to deal with this…
    8 September 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SaferPets website. Please read our Disclaimer.