GMP understands there is concern over increased dog theft incidents across the UK. The Force is keen to reassure people that dog thefts are uncommon in Greater Manchester and to stress that all reports and information received around the subject are taken seriously.
While we have had reports of some dog thefts, we don’t believe there has been a significant increase over the past year, which is in line with other forces. There is however an increase in social media activity around dog thefts which is causing communities to become concerned.
Opal (National Intelligence Unit for Serious Organised Acquisitive Crime) have reported that: "The profile of dog theft has been significantly raised via various platforms including news outlets and social media however research suggests that that the volume of offences has remain relatively stable.
"A survey found that 94% of respondents had seen reports of dog theft on social media but only 0.34% only had a dog stolen over the past 12 months."
In light of raised concerns nationally around pet theft, GMP are exploring adding functionality to the system to record such incidents and allow us to monitor any increases and decreases in pet theft in the future and allocate resources accordingly.
Superintendent Ben Ewart from GMP comments that; “During the pandemic the popularity of owning a dog and the price of buying a dog has increased.
"Dogs are like a member of the family and the thought that we could lose a dog in this way is worrying. It is an emotive subject but we hope that by sharing crime prevention advice, it will help to ease people’s concern.
"I would like to encourage anyone with any information, whether that is seeing some suspicious activity relating to dogs or attempted thefts, to report it to us either by calling 101 or reporting it online at gmp.police.uk. The information passed to us is looked into and taken seriously."
The Dogs Trust is the UK’s largest dog welfare charity and has a rehoming centre, Dogs Trust Manchester, in Denton. Dogs Trust’s representative said:“We understand that dog owners are increasingly concerned about dog theft. Our dogs play such a huge and important part in our lives and when they are taken it is absolutely heart breaking. Given the high demand for dogs in recent months and the increase in prices, it is only natural to be worried."
The Dogs Trust have provided some helpful advice on how to keep your pet safe:
Many dogs are taken from homes and gardens every year so making sure our gardens are secure along with our homes, is a priority for dog owners. Ideally a dog shouldn’t be left on their own in the garden.
Never leave your dog unattended when you’re out and about and always keep them in sight. Never leave them alone in a car.
Make sure they are trained to come back to you, however distracted they might be.
Ensure your dog is microchipped. Having your dog microchipped, and keeping your contact details up to date, gives you the best chance of having your dog returned to you if the worst happens.
Walk in well-lit areas, vary your routes and be aware of your surroundings.
You can find further help and advice on our website here.