Keep your dog close

Man's (or woman's) best friend

Dog theft – once an occasional occurrence – has become a crime endemic all over the country – and Europe, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand are also reporting massive numbers of dogs being stolen, apparently due to an increased demand for canine companions during lock downs.

Dog thieves are also becoming more blatant and more violent than ever and dog owners are being targeted whilst walking town pavements, and in the country, parks and woodland, on the beaches – and in some cases homes and gardens have been broken into – and threats and violence are often used.

Sussex Police and other police authorities are now issuing guidance to owner for ways to keep their dogs safe, but still hundreds are being stolen every week. Horrifically, some of these poor animals are turning up miles from home having been dumped by roadsides when it has not been possible to sell them on. Some have turned up dead.

In recent days ‘fake’ RSPCA officers have been attempting to ‘seize’ dogs in various parts of the country including Kent. They claim a report has been made regarding welfare and that they have to take the dog to check its health and physical state. They drive vans with the RSPCA logo and are calling at homes where they have first established a dog resides, as well as stopping people in popular walking spots.

And microchips may not be enough

Be warned! These dogs are not being taken anticipating a reward being offered. They are sold on, sometimes to pet homes, sometimes to dog fighting rings, and sometimes to be bred from until they are worn out and in appalling condition – because they will certainly have been denied veterinary treatment.

All dogs should be microchipped by their owners and the contact details kept up to date. Current photographs may help identify a dog, as will something carrying the dog’s DNA such as a hair sample or nail clipping. It would be useful if all vets would commit to scanning for a microchip every time a new dog is presented to them (Ferns Law – details online or at However, microchips can be dug out and frequently are, although this does leave a scar.

Dog owners are still not always aware of just how serious and widespread this crime has become. All dogs are at risk, young, old, neutered, entire, pedigree or cross bred, particularly ‘designer’ breeds such as poodle crosses. So look at, and act on, all the advice to keep your pets safe.

There is also growing evidence that cats are also being targeted, after the driver of a well known delivery firm attempted to snatch a pedigree Siamese cat from the garden path after he had delivered a parcel. Foiled fortunately.

Image Credits: Rye News library .


  1. Saying that 100s of dogs are being stolen is a shocking number. This other article states “Sussex Police recorded 31 dog thefts in 2020, but at least 12 of those were disputes over dog ownership between known parties. Appreciate you want dog owners to be vigilant but in the current times be careful and responsible how you are reporting. I walked my dog in Rye this morning and was warned by 3 people to be on the look out for dog thieves. You have the potential to make people afraid to go out on their dog walk…,dog%20ownership%20between%20known%20parties.&text=In%20seven%20cases%20dogs%20were,steps%20to%20keep%20them%20safe


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