The new norm of working from home throughout the pandemic has caused an explosion in dog ownership over the past year. But the rise has been accompanied by a disturbing increase in dog thefts.
The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association reports that more than one in 10 UK households acquired a new pet in lockdown, and the Kennel Club website saw a 168% increase in people looking for puppies in just the first two months of the Coronavirus outbreak.
The increase in demand for dogs has pushed up prices and limited availability – but there are more sinister repercussions. Incidents of dog theft have multiplied at an alarming rate and criminals are using increasingly sophisticated methods to steal animals for lucrative breeding or sale.
The charity Dog Lost saw a three-fold increase in reports of missing dogs between 2019 and 2020 and police forces across the country have warned owners to be vigilant.
So what additional steps can you take to protect your beloved pet and ensure you’re not targeted by thieves?
Firstly, make sure your dog is microchipped and check your details are up to date with the chip company. Take plenty of good photos too in case your pet does go missing so it can be easily identified.
Data collated by the National Animal Welfare Trust shows that 50% of stolen dogs are taken from gardens and 19% from house break-ins so it’s important to protect your property too and put security measures in place to deter thieves.
The police recommend that dogs shouldn’t be left outside unsupervised, especially in the current climate. But installing security fencing and strong, lockable gates creates a visible deterrent and ensures dogs can’t escape on their own.
Outdoor security floodlights with motion sensors also make criminals think twice about targeting a property if they know they’ll be bathed in light as soon as they get close.
Security cameras that cover all external areas and are constantly filming give added protection and keep a permanent record of anyone who has approached your property. This is particularly important as thieves often do a dry run before stealing a pet and do surveillance to check when your dog is let out.
Most systems can be accessed remotely with a phone app too so you can keep an eye on your property if your dog is left home alone and quickly react to any suspicious activity.
Signage can also play a role in deterring thieves, drawing attention to security measures such as CCTV. And installing a highly visible alarm system provides another reason for thieves to go elsewhere.
But it’s not only outside where cameras can play a role…
Indoor pet cameras have become increasingly popular and manufacturers have even created models that dispense treats. Some have video screens so you can have a two-way chat with your dog while you’re away from home, and there’s even a robot dog camera that follows the animal round the house and provides a dog’s eye view.
The huge demand for dogs means criminals are targeting all breeds, not just pedigree or fashionable animals. Some owners have even had their dogs snatched while out walking so it’s worth considering putting extra security measures in place for peace of mind.
The Absolute Security Group can advise on all aspects of home security and can create bespoke systems tailored to your needs. If you’re worried about your pet’s safety, call for a no-obligation chat on 01622 437838.