Charity issues stark warning as number of pets pinched from home soars

Posted On: 
25th July 2019

National pet charity Blue Cross is urging pet owners to prevent beloved pets from being on view to passers-by when at home as shocking new figures revealed by the charity show that most stolen dogs are taken from the home itself.

  • Despite 65% owners believing pets are snatched from the street or outside a shop, new figures show more than twice as many dogs and other pets are cruelly taken from the home²
  • Fashionable ‘flat faced’ breeds are possibly being targeted with three times more French bulldogs taken since 2015
  • Number of stolen cats rises by a third from 2017 and 70% since 2015 – to a record high
  • 70% of pet owners are concerned organised criminal gangs are behind the theft of pets

Worryingly, more than ¾ pet owners confess their pet enjoys sitting in the window where they can be clearly seen by anyone walking past, but the charity recommends trying to keep them out of sight and safe when at home – especially when left alone.

Diane James from Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service said: “We have been supporting pet owners who have lost their pet in various circumstances for 25 years this year and we know only too well the devastating impact pet theft has on innocent families. While we know many pets enjoy watching the outside world go by we would urge pet owners to keep them away from windows or glass doors so that they cannot be seen from the street.

We wouldn’t leave an expensive piece of jewellery or laptop on the windowsill for all to see, so we shouldn’t let our precious pets be on full view, as sadly thieves simply view them as a valuable commodity to make a quick profit.”

Nikola Roe’s miniature pinscher Diddy was taken from her Berkshire home last August. Nikola said: “The whole thing is just heartbreaking - awful. I was left with a blind and deaf 16 year old Spaniel, Diddy was her eyes. Our world just stopped.”

A pet’s garden remains the second highest theft location according to police figures, yet over 70% of owners¹ admit they are not always keeping an eye on their pet when they let them outside.

Kathleen Easton’s family pet Chihuahua, Luna, was stolen from her Bradford secure garden last January. The thief climbed over a six foot fence and unlocked the back gate from the inside to take Luna. Kathleen said: “Your dog is your family and it’s been devastating on all of us. It’s been a year and a half since she’s been gone but we will never give up on her and keep searching and raising awareness in case someone has innocently bought her from the thieves without knowing she is ours and very much missed.”

Blue Cross advice includes

  • When at home avoid pets being seen by strangers passing by and be vigilant when they are in the garden – ensure gardens are secure.
  • Don’t leave dogs tied outside a shop or pets left in the car – even for a few minutes.
  • Vary your dog walks and be wary of strangers asking questions.
  • Neuter your pet and note this on their tag, along with your name address and a mobile number, avoid putting the dog’s name on their tag.
  • Make sure cats and dogs are microchipped (now a legal requirement for dogs) to ensure a greater chance of being reunited if the worst happens and they are lost or stolen.
  • Think twice before sharing photos of pets on social media if you are also revealing your home or frequently visited locations. When using Instagram, don’t use location tags or make it obvious from photos that you are often in the same place at the same time with your pet.

For more pet theft advice visit www.bluecross.org.uk/pettheft.

The Blue Cross Pet Bereavement support line is open 365 days a year from 8.30am until 8.30pm on Freephone number (some mobile networks may charge) 0800 096 6606 and also by emailing pbssmail@bluecross.org.uk.