‘Have your say’ survey on dog theft

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Jane Kennedy 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.

Jane said, “As a dog owner and lover myself, I certainly appreciate how alarming and upsetting dog theft must be to anyone who suffers it. Dogs are a part of the family and a source of great love, comfort and companionship.

“This has been brought into even sharper focus given we are all spending much more time at home and walking our dogs is undoubtedly a highlight in many people’s days.

“We believe there has been a significant increase in dog theft, but through this survey we want to know what is really happening across Merseyside, so we can respond accordingly and support people appropriately.

“I’d encourage all dog owners to take part, share their views and help us ensure we are properly informed to help shape national policy going forward.”

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