Dog Thefts: Scarborough borough top for dog thefts in North Yorkshire as no criminals prosecuted in last year
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Through a freedom of information request, North Yorkshire Police have disclosed the figures on how many reports of dog thefts it receive in each of the county’s districts.
The figures show that across the whole of North Yorkshire 21 reports of dog thefts were made in 2022 with six in Scarborough borough – and none have resulted in a charge or court summons.
In 2021, the figures were similar with 31 dogs stolen in 21 separate incidents, with just two resulting in a charge or court summons.
Nationally, fewer than one per cent of dog thefts reported last year resulted in criminal charges.
The Kennel Club described the figure as “really disappointing” but police chiefs said it was often hard to identify suspects.
A freedom of information request sent to the UK’s 45 police forces – where 33 provided a response – showed 1,600 dog theft reports of more than 1,700 individual dogs. Though, with a quarter of forces failing to respond, the true figure will likely be higher.
Of the crimes where police provided an investigation status, just 14 (0.9 per cent) had so far resulted in someone being charged or sent a court summons.
Ministers had announced plans in 2021 to make dog abduction a specific offence punishable by up to five years in jail, through the Kept Animals Bill – but this has not yet become law and campaigners say they fear the Government will drop the idea.
A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “It was really welcome that the UK Government announced plans to make pet theft a specific offence.
“However, the legislation has been in limbo for 500 days and we're increasingly worried these plans could be dropped altogether.”
The National Police Chief’s Council said dog owners should follow these steps to protect a pet from theft:
- Check your social media privacy settings when sharing pictures of your pets online
- If you are selling puppies, be aware of how you are advertising them as this can attract the attention of criminals
- Be vigilant of anyone acting suspiciously or watching your dog while you are walking them and do not ever give someone you do not know personal information
- Avoid leaving your dog tied outside of a shop or other public spaces
- Conduct proper research when using sitters and kennels by checking references and making sure you are using a reputable company
- If your dog is in your garden, keep an eye on them at all times and make sure side gates are locked
- Never leave your dog alone in the car, as they could make a tempting target for a thief as well as risking overheating
- Seek advice online before you buy a pet, making sure you check where it has come from and that it is being bought legally.