Stealing Pets UK

The UK is experiencing an increase in dog thefts by a third over the past two years with the more fashionable breeds particularly at risk. There is also an increase in what is called “theft by finding”. This is when people who claim to have innocently found or acquired a dog or cat wait until posters appear which offer a reward and then demand cash for the companion animal’s return.

I’m concerned that the increase in theft of expensive dogs will spill over into an increase in thefts of expensive cats. There is not much difference in respect of their value.


In China, the public are gradually becoming more aware of pet theft for the cat and dog meat trade. A couple of dog thieves were caught:

Dog thieves in China

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

This is not British justice and I don’t condone it but it is a good sign that the tide is perhaps turning on the cruel and barbaric dog and cat meat trade. This is the Daily Mail story.


You may have heard about the violent theft last weekend of a lilac bulldog which had a price tag of £16,000. The person who stole the dog posed as a potential buyer and then, when he was in the home, he simply grabbed the dog and forced his way out of a home and into a car waiting for him. It was that easy.

Dog owners are particularly at risk because they may employ a dog walker who is in charge of several animals. A dog walker is exposed to the violent theft of any of the dogs at any time. Also dogs are far more commonly purebred and therefore more expensive.

In another case of a dog theft, Nicola Shepherd was walking ‘Winston’ her chihuahua in north-west London when a thief simply scooped up her dog and ran off. The gang (note a gang was involved) then threatened to shoot the dog if she failed to handover the full £1,000 “reward”.

I am highlighting the word “gang”. This is because I believe that gangs of thieves are targeting pets as easy money. This is a new phenomenon in the UK in my opinion.  e did not have gangs of thieves preying on pet owners in the past. There appears to be an increasing gang criminality in the country and I wonder whether it is in any way linked to opening our borders to the new European Union countries?

The domestic cat is less of a target than the domestic dog because, as mentioned, a lot of domestic cats are random bred cats with little commercial value (but with a high emotional value). However, there is a significant number of purebred cats in the UK who are allowed to go outside and roam freely.

Where I live, for example, there are two Siamese cats who are allowed to go out together and there is a LaPerm cat which is also allowed to roam widely. Personally, and I stress this is my personal opinion, I would not let these cats roam so freely both for their safety and because there is the possibility that they could be stolen.

Purebred cats in this country could be valued at about £500 each. A rarer breed could be worth more than twice that and therefore if a thief has the connections their theft could be considered easy money.

Neal Parish, MP, chairman of the associate Parliamentary group for animal welfare called for tougher sentences on those convicted of stealing pets.

“We need to ensure police treat describes seriously and ensure that the courts impose suitable punishments”.  He said.

There is a call by campaigners that pet thieves should be jailed for at least 6 weeks to halt the rise in violent thefts and ransom demands.  Personally, I think 6 weeks is too short but the police and courts generally undervalue or underrate the emotional connection between companion animal caretaker and their companion animal.  The true value of a ‘pet’ is far more than the commercial value, which should be recognised.

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7 thoughts on “Stealing Pets UK”

  1. Good! I’m glad those assholes get their ass kicked! Stealing poor innocent animals to butcher them for fucking meat trade? Those I know bastards fucking deserved this! ??

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  2. Most owners including myself have a “EMOTIONAL VALUE” and attachment with their pet which is much more than a monetary set value.Hence a thief can even kidnap a mongrel dog or a mowgie cat of a rich emotional pet owner and claim a huge ransom !Below i am attaching a photo of a dog owners love and money spent on the worst handicap case i have witnessed in my lifetime of viewing pets.This dog is a ordinary mongrel and its owner must have spent a fortune on its medical expenses. Its one front leg is amputated and the other is on stilts to heal a fracture. Had taken this photo on Kuta beach in Bali.This is definitely no prized rare breed of dog but has great emotional attachment to its owner.

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    • Wow, that is a sad picture in one way but as you say we can’t put a price on the emotional connection. The law doesn’t recognise this at all at present. Although I remember one court case where the judge referred to it in working out damages.

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    • Rudolph, I definitely agree that the emotional value of our pets is priceless to many. However, I believe the majority of stolen pet dogs will quickly be sold on to people looking for a “cut price” pedigree.

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  3. Although the theft of pedigree dogs may be on the increase in the UK, the majority of cats are not pedigree so they don’t hold the same financial gain for thieves.

    I know it’s been made compulsory for all dogs in the UK to be microchipped and registered by 2016, but I wish the government had extended that ruling to include domestic cats. Vets should then be obliged to scan all new patients brought to them, as this would hopefully minimise the theft by finding aspect. At the moment vets automatically assume that anyone taking an animal to them for treatment is the rightful owner.

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  4. You are right Michael, and this is very important that the law enforcement agencies must keep this seriously in their minds and re-act upon it seriously instead of just being a set aside papers. 🙁

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