Only 2% of dog thieves charged despite affecting 200 families monthly

Ruff justice: Only 2% of dog thieves are charged and failure to tackle pet-napping is causing misery for 200 families each month, experts warn

  • Government launched a pet theft taskforce in May – but 508 dogs stolen since
  • Kennel Club says thefts being treated as ‘petty crime’ and wants tougher laws
  • Elaine Hardy, 50, left heartbroken after labrador stolen from her back garden

A staggering 98 per cent of dog thieves escape without charge, figures show.

Failure to tackle the crime leaves nearly 200 families devastated each month, according to the Kennel Club.

The Government launched a pet theft taskforce in May – but 508 dogs have been stolen since.

The Kennel Club claims the thefts are being treated as ‘petty crime’ and is calling for the law to reflect the emotional impact on owners.

In one case, an owner was left heartbroken when her 18-month-old dog was stolen from her back garden in Swinton, Salford, never to be seen again.

Elaine Hardy, 50, said tips on the whereabouts of her fox red labrador Rosie were not followed up by Greater Manchester Police, who told her they ‘didn’t have the search powers for a dog’. 

Elaine Hardy (pictured), 50, said tips on the whereabouts of her fox red labrador Rosie (in picture) were not followed up by Greater Manchester Police

She said the case was closed soon after the theft in December.

Mrs Hardy, who now backs tougher laws, said: ‘A stolen mobile phone would probably get more attention than a dog. 

‘But they are not just a thing, a dog is a living being with feelings and the families are obviously left devastated.’

The Kennel Club, which is also calling for greater police resources, made Freedom of Information requests to the 45 UK police forces, 36 of which replied.

It found there were an estimated 2,355 cases of dog theft in 2020 – up 7 per cent from 2,199 in 2019.

Based on data of outcomes provided by 27 of the forces, only 2 per cent of the cases led to a suspect being charged last year. 

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