Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, has launched ‘Family Pawtraits’, a campaign to bring awareness to the growing problem of dog theft in the UK, as reported incidents rise to over 2000 each year. The charity is campaigning for stronger sentencing for the crime, and encouraging owners to take measures to prevent their pet being stolen.
The charity has released research, based on police constabularies statistics, which reveals that dogs are most likely to be stolen from their owner’s home or garden (71%).
Lee Paris, Dogs Trust Campaigns Officer comments: “We know that dogs truly are a part of their owners’ families, and it can be incredibly traumatic when a dog is stolen. Currently, the penalty for dog theft is based on the monetary value of the dog as a possession – we are hoping that Family Pawtraits will highlight the emotional anguish a family experiences when their dog is stolen. We want tougher sentencing for dog theft, but also want to encourage families to take simple but effective measures to prevent their dog being stolen.”
Dogs Trust offers three simple pieces of advice to reduce the risk of theft in the first place, and offer the best possible chance of reunification if your dog is stolen:
- SAFE: Secure your home and garden to prevent anyone entering without your knowledge
- SPOTTABLE: Keep your dog in sight and trained to return if you call them
- SEARCHABLE: Ensure your dog is microchipped, the chip details are kept up to date and you know what to do if you’re dog goes missing
To help raise awareness of the issue Dogs Trust has created a video of families who explain how their dogs have become an integral part of their families:
Dogs Trust is sending the research and content to the Sentencing Council in a bid to change guidelines around the penalty for dog theft. Current penalties for anyone found guilty of pet theft are based on the perceived monetary value of the dog, but Dogs Trust is calling for amends to increase punishments as well as adding theft of a companion animal to the list of aggravating factors.
To find out more about the campaign, how to keep your dog safe and how you can share your own #familypawtrait visit https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/news-events/issues-campaigns/dog-theft/