The pandemic lockdown has caused many disruptions to home life, but one of the most heart-breaking has been the increase in dog thefts across the country. These crimes have affected people right up to high profile celebrities like Lady Gaga whose dogs were abducted during a violent attack.
With the massive increase in demand for dogs and puppies as companions during lockdown, the prices and profits have skyrocketed. The Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance has seen a 170 percent increase in dog thefts nationwide during lockdown, mainly because of the rise in prices for dogs.
Northamptonshire has not been immune; a springer spaniel was stolen from a yard in Harrington, a dachshund and a puppy were stolen from a home in Northampton during a pre-arranged viewing of the puppy, and there have been numerous reports of working dogs stolen from farms and other properties.
Police have been working to return pets to their owners. Five bulldog puppies were found safe and well after being taken from a house in Wellingborough, and a cocker spaniel was brought back to its owner after it was stolen from a kennel in Harpole.
PC Michelle Clapson, from the Rural Crime Team at Northamptonshire Police said: “We understand how important people’s dogs are to them – they are part of the family, so we want to help everyone understand the best way to keep them safe.”
“With demand for dogs still really high, we’re sharing advice with owners to keep their beloved pets safe, and also sharing advice to help those looking for a new dog to do so responsibly.”
Dog owners can take a few simple steps to protect their pets, such as ensure all microchip details are up to date; secure outdoor kennels; use a lead for walking outdoors; do not leave the dog unattended by a shop.
Those buying a new dog, should also be vigilant, ensuring that the breeder is licensed. The Kennel Club advises that a good breeder should be as curious about you as you are of them, and that when viewing puppies, ask to see the mum and watch how the dog interacts with the mum and the rest of the litter. Ask to see papers and vet reports. Walk away if it does not look or feel right, and alert a local vet or the Kennel Club.