Lockdown leads to 170% increase in dog thefts

For many dog owners, the pandemic has meant more time at home with their pets. But the demand for dogs has also led to a huge increase in thefts. The value of some breeds has tripled in the past year and criminals have been quick to cash in as Anna Youssef reports.

Samantha Hatton’s 18 month old Beagle, Star, was stolen from her Rochdale home last month.

Thieves broke in late at night while Samantha was having a bath and Star was in the kitchen.

Just looking at her empty bed is really hard. I’ve had to move it out of the way because it was so upsetting.  I just miss her dearly and I want her home.

Samantha Hatton

The theft was reported to police.  Samantha now spends her days searching the surrounding area and posting appeals on social media.  She fears Star, who’s white and tan with a distinctive love heart on her left side, was stolen for breeding.

The charity DogLost says there’s been a 170% increase in dog thefts since lockdown started. Only about 1% of dog thefts ever end up in court. Punishment is usually a fine or community service.

There needs to be tougher sentencing. These pets are family members.  People are left devastated when they lose them. At least if a pet dies you know what happened to them. It’s the not knowing that’s so hard. Is the dog safe? Is it being used for breeding? Has it been used for dog baiting. It’s just devastating and some owners really can’t cope.

Shelley Page. DogLost.

Samantha hopes she’ll be reunited with Star soon, until then she’ll keep searching.

Read the full article from ITV Granada Reports here:


Follow Star’s DogLost timeline at:

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