Shocking extent of dog thefts rise is revealed as gangs ‘exploit’ demand
- Credit: Archant
Shocking figures show the number of dogs stolen by unscrupulous criminals in Suffolk during 2020 is already double the average in each of the past five years.
A Freedom of Information (FoI) request showed that 46 dogs were stolen in the county during 17 thefts between January and July this year.
That is up from 21 dogs during the whole of 2019, with the number of reported dog thefts averaging at 21 between 2014 and 2019.
A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said organised gangs have been taking advantage of an increased demand in working dog breeds.
They said: “On a national level, organised crime groups are actively targeting locations where working dog breeds are present.
“Criminals are exploiting the increased demand for working dogs by stealing them and attempting to sell them on at a high price.
“The loss of any pet can be devastating and we advise all owners to be vigilant and take extra care surrounding crime prevention measures.
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“In particular, we would advise working dog owners and breeders to review security of any outdoor kennels.”
The force also advised those looking to purchase a dog to ensure they understand what to look out for, in case they are being offered one which has been stolen.
“It is also important you know the law and what to look out for when purchasing a pet and in particular a puppy,” the spokesman added.
“These incidents are happening in daylight.
“If dog owners, breeders or kennel owners receive unexpected visitors that cause suspicion, officers would be grateful if descriptions, footage or images of the individuals and/or their vehicles could be reported.”
The most shocking incident involving dog thefts in Suffolk took place in July at Fiveways Boarding Kennels and Cattery in Barton Mills.
Two litters of puppies and several other dogs, who were staying at the boarding kennels, were stolen by “heartless” thieves.
The force has also warned that gangs are potentially working across county borders.
Earlier this month, four working dogs were taken from a home in Thorrington.
More information about the law on purchasing dogs is available from the RSPCA website.