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Rising Dog Thefts

9th March 2021

As dog theft rises, are you doing everything you can to prevent it?

The number of dog thefts within the UK has reached an unprecedented level over the last year, with recent news reports showing a huge and dramatic increase. We regularly see heart breaking messages on social media and in the news from dog owners who have had their beloved pets stolen.

The demand for puppies within the last year has rocketed and the increase in theft may be due to criminals stealing dogs being used for breeding, often stealing both mum and puppies in one go.

Criminals are taking advantage of the fact that many rural areas used by dog breeders and dog walkers are often secluded, quiet and enable a quick getaway.

If you are a Dog Walker or Pet Minder it is worth pointing out to your clients that, although off-lead walking is permitted with their written permission, if a dog in your care is stolen or strays whilst off the lead you may not be legally liable and your policy would not compensate them.  If, however, a dog is stolen whilst you are walking it on the lead then this would potentially be covered under the Care, Custody and Control aspect of your Public Liability cover.

Given the increased chance of theft, it is advisable to change routines, walk at different times, change your route and if you can, walk accompanied. GPS Trackers and location sharing on mobile phones is always sensible.

Dogs walked on lead should be kept close, if walking by the roadside, the dog should be on the inside of the pavement to make it difficult for them to be snatched by somebody driving by.

There have been reports of leads being cut and potential criminals pretending to pet dogs so they can unclip harnesses and lure the dog away. Investing in a chain link lead and being extra cautious of those around you may make you feel more at ease and work towards preventing this.

It’s not just during walks that are dogs are being stolen and precautions can be taken at home and in the car. Secure fencing and bolted gates are always an advantage when you are looking after dogs to avoid them escaping and coming to harm in the first place, but  also be conscious of people loitering nearby as not all dogs will bark or alert you of danger.

It can only take 30 seconds for a dog to be snatched, so it is important to be aware of the dangers of leaving dogs unattended for any period of time.

Sadly it is not just the dogs that are in danger as there have been reports in the news of dog walkers and pet owners also being injured whilst protecting their animals.

During these uncertain and often scary times please remain vigilant and do everything you can to protect yourselves and dogs from harm. Many people have used national lockdown as a chance to review their insurance cover.  It is important to check that your policy provides you not only with protection against the theft, straying and injury to the animals in your care but also protects you in the event of you being injured and unable to work.

We are here as pet lovers and your insurance broker to help you with any queries you may have regarding your policy and insurance requirements.


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