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Have your say: Dog theft survey

Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, is supporting a national survey designed to understand public perception of dog theft, enforcement, and the prosecution of offenders.

Demand for dogs as pets has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. The cost of some puppies, on Pets4Homes, is currently as high as £3,000, making them a valuable commodity to criminals. According to Dog Lost, the UK's largest lost and found dog service, it is estimated thefts have risen by 250 per cent, with criminal gangs involved.

The Home Secretary is currently reviewing the issue of pet theft and what future enforcement may look like with potentially tougher penalties for perpetrators.

The survey includes a question seeking views on whether companion animals should be treated in law as sentient beings, not merely as property. The public’s responses, which will be collected by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, will help inform discussions that PCCs will have on this issue nationally and allow police forces to better understand the public’s views on this crime and how they might improve their response to these concerns.

Matthew Barber, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley, said: “Pets are more than just property, they become part of your family. As a dog owner myself I am hugely concerned by the rise in dog thefts and the terrible trade in stolen animals. We all have a role to play by ensuring our animals are microchipped and only buying from registered breeders. Dog thefts are often committed by organised crime gangs and the police need to tackle these gangs and eliminate this crime.”

The 60-second survey will be open until 5pm on Friday 12th March at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dogtheft.