Nearly 90 dogs were reported stolen in Edinburgh in the last year – almost twice the number recorded a year before.
In the 2020/21 financial year, 88 dog theft incidents were reported to Police Scotland in the capital, a Freedom of Information request revealed. There has been a 42 per cent spike in dognapping cases compared to the previous year.
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Experts warn that the primary motivation for dog snatching is the possible financial gain involved.
Michael Emans is the lead for dog training at Paw Haus, a dog daycare center in Livingston, and a retired police officer. He said: “In my opinion, dog theft is on the rise due to the potential of making a large amount of money from the unlawful sale of a dog if stolen.
“There has been a particular rise in hybrid style breeds that can fetch large amounts of money, the types of breeds like labradoodle and cockapoo type dogs which are desirable.
“The French Bulldog is one of the most popular breeds within the UK, and this can fetch large amounts of money, as well as the other breeds making an appearance like the American pocket bully.
“I was recently informed one of these dogs fetching in the region of £10,000. So as you can see, these dogs being desirable would be the motivation for thefts of these breeds. The high earning potential can be a significant motivation, to say the least.
“To add to that, dogs will be stolen to be used as bait dogs in illegal dog fighting, so these would be easy pickings for these types of criminality.”
The same report reveals that precisely half of the dogs reported as stolen have been taken from the residential premises – 44 incidents – with the next most likely place where one’s dog can be snatched being public space – with 21 incidents.
The report suggests that despite often being left unattended in cars, there has only been one case of a dog being snatched from a vehicle in the last financial year.
When analyzing the days on which dog stealing occurred, the report concluded that a quarter of thefts happened on Saturdays. Wednesdays were revealed as the second most popular day for thefts – at 21.6% – followed by Tuesdays at 14.8%.
talking to edinburghlive about how a dog owner can protect their pet from being snatched, Michael Emans shared the following tips:
- Firstly, ensure your dog is microchipped.
- If the dog has any distinguishing marks, record it so you have a record in the unlikely event their pet is stolen, and they can identify it.
- Take photos of the dog. I often hear my wife commenting I have more photos of my dog on my phone than I do of her and me.
- If your dog roams free in the garden, make sure it’s secure, and no one can just come in without you knowing.
- Don’t allow your dog to over socialize with other dogs or people. If they seek attention or food from other people or strangers, then the dog will see other things and people of higher value. If people can entice your dog, then they can steal your dog.
- On walks, make sure you are aware of people following you that seem suspicious. Are they overly interested in your dog, are they asking its name, etc.
- Make sure you have a mobile phone with you to call for help. But on the same token, don’t be distracted by phone calls when you’re out walking with your dog.
- Be aware of decoys. There is a history of young children being used by criminal gangs to get the dog’s attention, and then the adult steps in and steals the dog.
- Don’t leave dogs unattended outside a shop for a long period out of sight.
- Having a great recall is one of the best ways to prevent theft. Teaching a dog that other things, dogs and people are to be ignored will mean it will be less likely they will be stolen. So train the dog to recall back to you despite the other person calling or trying to entice them.
- Obedience training for real life is the best you can teach your dog.