The most stolen dog breed

The Staffordshire Bull Terrier has been revealed to be the most stolen dog after a huge spike in pet thefts last year.

The number of dogs or puppies stolen from homes in 2021 has increased by around 70% compared to the previous year according to a new study published by insurer Gather. It comes as more and more people opted for a pet as they were at home during the covid pandemic lockdowns.

The study showed that nearly 80% of dog owners had become more apprehensive about taking their pets for walks during the day, fearing that their pet might be stolen.

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

While 83% of pet lovers said they felt less comfortable taking their dog out after dark.

The second most stolen dog was the Chihuahua, which accounted for 7% of thefts, followed by the Jack Russell, French bulldogs and Labradors.

The majority of reported thefts – 52% – occurred when the pet had been left in their front or back yard, with the next popular option being stolen during a break-in, accounting for 19% of thefts.

It comes as ministers revealed last year that a new offense would 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.

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Research has shown that under current laws less than 1% of pet thefts result in a charge, with only 22% of people picking up their furry friends, reports HullLive.

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.”