Dozens of dogs stolen across Northumbria Police area

Dozens of dogs were reported stolen to Northumbria Police last year.

By Patrick Jack
Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 4:42 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th June 2022, 4:44 pm
A rise in the number of dog thefts has been linked with an increase in pet ownership during the pandemic.
A rise in the number of dog thefts has been linked with an increase in pet ownership during the pandemic.

A missing pets charity said an increase in dog thefts across the UK was linked to the pandemic, and warned new owners might accidentally be buying stolen dogs.

Northumbria Police recorded 81 dog thefts in 2021, according to a Freedom of Information request from Direct Line Pet Insurance.

This was down from 92 in 2020, but an increase on 49 in 2019 – before the pandemic.

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Across the UK, 2,077 dogs were reported stolen to 35 police forces which responded to the FOI request – though Direct Line Pet Insurance estimates the real figure to be as high as 2,760.

This estimate was up from 2,438 in 2020 and the highest number since their records began in 2015.

Madeline Pike, veterinary nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance, said: "Unfortunately, the increase in dog ownership since the pandemic began and the subsequent rise in prices of these animals seems to make the crime even more appealing to thieves."

Dyfed and Powys saw the highest rate of stolen canines last year, with 36 incidents per 100,000 households. In the Northumbria Police force area, the rate was 13.

Along with an increase in thefts across the UK, the proportion of pooches returned to their owners also rose last year, to 22%.

Norfolk Constabulary reunited the greatest proportion of dogs with owners, returning 25 out of 29.

In Northumbria, 35 of 81 dogs were returned last year.

Direct Line Pet Insurance said French bulldogs were the most stolen breed in 2021, followed by Jack Russells, chihuahuas and pugs.