Increase in dog thefts – this is the breed most at risk of being stolen

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been revealed as the most stolen dog as pet thefts have seen a huge spike in the past year.

New research reveals that the number of dogs or puppies stolen from homes in 2021 has increased by around 70% compared to the previous year.

The study, conducted by the insurer Bring together, showed that almost 80% of dog owners became more worried about taking their pets out for a walk during the day.

While 83% of animal lovers felt less comfortable taking their dog out after dark.

According to research, the most commonly stolen dog was the Staffie, accounting for 17% of pet thefts in 2021.

The next most common was the Chihuahua, which accounted for 7% of thefts, followed by Jack Russells, French Bulldogs and Labradors.

The majority of reported thefts – 52% – occurred when the animal was in their front or back yard, with the next popular option, stolen during a break-in, accounting for just 19% of thefts.

It comes as ministers revealed last year that a new offense will be introduced to impose tougher penalties on those who steal pets.

Pet abduction was introduced after complaints were made about the status of pets, as previously anyone taking a dog or cat would face a charge of theft.

The theft law treated an animal as a possession, with campaigners saying it was more like a family member.

Although the penalties of the new law have not yet been revealed, it is believed that they will encompass the emotional toll a stolen animal can have.

The legislation is expected to be introduced in parliament this year, meaning it is unlikely to become law before 2023.

Research has shown that under current laws, less than 1% of pet thefts result in a charge, and only 22% of people get their furry friends back.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “Pets are much loved members of the family in households across the country, and reports of an increase in pet thefts are worrying.

“Pet owners shouldn’t have to live in fear, and I’m glad this report recognizes the unique distress caused by this crime.”

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