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68 dogs stolen in Cornwall and Devon last year

68 dogs stolen in Cornwall and Devon last year

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:28am 27th May 2020. (Updated at 12:14pm 24th June 2020)

It has been revealed that 68 dogs were reported as stolen to Devon and Cornwall Police last year.

Figures show that was the fifth highest number across all the forces in the country.

But the number is down on the previous year, as 71 dogs were reportedly taken in the Duchy and Devon in 2018.

New research from Direct Line Pet Insurance shows that six dogs are being stolen every day in England and Wales, with over 2,000 being snatched last year.

It warns that Staffies and expensive cross breeds, such as Puggles and Schnoodles, are among the most at risk.

dog thefts

What did the research find?

Staffordshire Bull Terriers are the most popular breed to be targeted by thieves.

Puggles (pug and a beagle) and Schnoodles (schnauzer and a poodle) are also at high risk.

The Freedom of Information request to police forces found cross breed thefts have risen by almost half (42%) in the last year.

Chihuahuas remain in third place in the table and other breeds which are becoming more vulnerable to theft include Cocker Spaniels and Yorkshire Terriers, which did not make it into the top 10 most commonly stolen breeds in 2018.

This may be partly due to their popularity among well-known celebrities such as Serena Williams, Simon Cowell and Steven Tyler. 

Lurchers and Border Collies were also outside the top 10 in 2018 but are both now among the most popular targets for thieves. 

But there is good news - in 2019, over a fifth (22 per cent) of stolen dogs were returned to their owners and the FOI report found for the first time since the study began in 2014, there has been a year-on-year fall of 23% compared to 2018.

sad dog

Police force data:

London (17 per cent) and the South East (16 per cent) remained the dog theft hotspots in England and Wales, with the two regions accounting for a third of all reported cases of dog theft last year. The Metropolitan Police Service reported the greatest number of dogs stolen, at 329 in 2019, a slight rise of eight per cent on 2018 (304). 

West Yorkshire Police received the second greatest number of reports (167) of stolen dogs in 2019, while Kent saw the third highest with 100 reports. Both forces, however, received fewer reports of stolen dogs in 2019 compared to 2018, a reduction of seven per cent and four per cent respectively. Alongside the Metropolitan Police, the top 10 police forces which saw increases in the number of dogs stolen in 2019 were Leicestershire Constabulary (26 per cent), West Mercia Police (23 per cent), Essex Police (19 per cent) and Durham Constabulary (16 per cent).

At the other end of the scale, Warwickshire Police and Northamptonshire Police received just eight reports of stolen dogs in 2019, while Avon & Somerset Constabulary received nine. Humberside Police was the force which saw the greatest reduction in reports of dog theft, receiving 147 in 2018 but just 31 in 2019, a fall of 79 per cent. Greater Manchester Police and Dorset Police also saw substantial reductions in reports, with the number of cases falling from 58 to 24 (down 62 per cent) and 161 to 61 (down 59 per cent) between 2018 and 2019 respectively. 

Dyfed-Powys Police returned the greatest proportion of dogs to their owners last year, reuniting 26 out of 33 dogs with their owners, a success rate of four in five (79 per cent). Completing the top three forces for returning dogs are Northamptonshire Police, which reunited five of eight stolen dogs (63 per cent) and Nottinghamshire Police, which reunited 14 dogs out of 23 stolen (61 per cent). 

dog thefts

Steps to follow if your dog is stolen:

  • Firstly, check the local area and your dog’s favourite spots as your dog may have wandered off 
  • Make your dog ‘too hot to handle’ by sharing on social media, putting up posters in the local area and informing local media – include pictures and any distinctive marks in any appeals, and ask others to spread the word
  • There are some specific sites set up to help find lost and stolen dogs, like doglost.co.uk
  • Report your dog as stolen to the police and provide them with as much detail as possible
  • Report your dog as stolen to local pet related services like vets, animal shelters, pet shops, dog wardens and the council. Provide photos, a physical description and the dogs microchip number
  • Report your dog to the microchip database 

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