The UK's leading dog welfare charity has warned owners ahead of Dog Theft Awareness Day.

Amid a rise in pet theft in Britain, Dogs Trust Evesham has issued guidelines to owners to safeguard their dogs from being separated from their loved ones.

The charity's timely advice comes as the nation is set to mark Dog Theft Awareness Day on Thursday, March 14.


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A recent survey by Direct Line suggests a six per cent rise in dogs stolen across the UK in 2023, with a total of 2,290 incidents.

However, despite the heart-wrenching experience for owners, dog theft is not recognised as a specific crime under current regulations and theft of canines is addressed in the same manner as theft of mundane items such as mobile phones or bicycles.

The charity has been advocating for more stringent penalties to dissuade people from profiting from dog theft.

Earlier this year, a Private Members Bill that enjoys cross-party backing received its second hearing in Parliament.

If passed, it would classify pet theft as a distinct crime.

The charity has put forth a list of suggestions to assist dog owners in minimising the likelihood of their dogs being stolen.

These include securing homes and properties, monitoring dogs in gardens, adjusting social media privacy settings while sharing pictures of dogs, paying attention when dogs are off-lead and ensuring they are never left unattended in public places or cars.

Maria Murray, associate director prevention and community engagement at Dogs Trust said: "Having your beloved pet stolen is an extremely stressful, often heart-breaking experience.

"For many owners, pets are members of the family, and being separated from them, without knowing where they are, is devastating.

"It’s disappointing to hear that pet theft is on the rise, but by following a few simple tips, you can reduce the chances of this despicable crime happening to you.

"Never leave your dog unattended, especially in a public area, and if you are walking them off lead, always keep them in sight.

"You should also be careful with what details you share online about your canine companions."

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