34 Police Forces in England and Wales reported more than 5000 cases of dog theft since 2011. Of these just 12 percent of dogs were reported to have been returned to their owners. Dog theft is a particularly nasty crime, causing distress to owners and to the dogs themselves. This a a rising issue with hundreds of dogs being stolen every year. Dogs that are stolen are often simply reported as missing and very few are ever returned to their owners.
Pet Theft Awareness Week aims to encourage people to be more diligent in protecting their pets from potential theft. A change in the law regarding dog theft is needed: dog theft was a specific crime from 1770 until the current act, Theft Act 1968, when dogs were relegated to being a chattel. Perhaps the punishments as in the previous acts should be reinstated.