The Pet Theft Awareness campaign is in full swing, alerting owners to the increasing rate of pet theft and providing tips on how owners can better safeguard their pets.
Formed in February 2013 by Arnot Wilson, Director of the Dog Union and Richard Jordan of VioVet, online veterinary medicine, food and supplies retailer, the campaign hopes to educate people on the preventative measures that they can take to protect their pets from pet thieves. They are also campaigning for tougher penalties to deter pet theft, which includes custodial sentences and for police and courts to have tougher and stronger powers to prioritise the theft of pets over the theft of objects.
As dogs are regarded as a chattel - item of property - accurate statistics are hard to come by, but the UK's first Pet Theft Census in 2013 showed at least three cats and dogs were stolen every day that year. Fifty-two per cent were stolen from gardens, 19 per cent were from breaking into the home, 16 percent were whilst owners walked their dogs and 7 per cent were stolen whilst tied up outside shops.
Pet Theft Awareness have also listed the possible reasons for pet theft - which include ransom, dog fighting, selling on and breeding - stating on their website that: "Since the introduction of tighter controls on scrap metal dealing, there appears to have been a substantial increase in pet theft. The laws are archaic with regard to pet theft and thieves are finding it a reasonable source of income without little penal consequences."
Now in their fourth year, Pet Theft Awareness are promoting the use of technology to help prevent dog theft and find stolen pets. In a recent blog post, Richard said, "While we wait for tougher penalties, we are urging pet owners to use all the technology that is available to them as the onus remains firmly with them to protect their pets”.
Pet Theft Awareness have a list of other tips on their website, as well as advice on what to do if your pet is missing and useful resources. Go to http://www.pettheft.co.uk and follow @pettheftaware on Twitter to support the campaign.