A rising number of British pet owners have reported thefts during the pandemic lockdown. The rise in theft is aligned with the increased demand for pets during the pandemic.

Sarah, who did not give a last name for her own security, told AFP news agency about having her six dogs stolen, “I can’t name one feeling because there was too many – I was basically shocked, upset, frightened because of how this happened. (I was) obviously really, really, really worried for the dogs and it’s hard to go on with daily life because you feel guilty.”

Thieves broke into an outhouse in Wales where the dogs were living and Sarah has had one dog return, with injuries. The others are still missing.

Wayne May, from DogLost, a company that reunites missing dogs with owners using an online database said theft is on the rise. He called 2020, “the worst year ever,” of his 30 years in business.

He shared an estimate that there’s been a 250% increase in dog thefts since March 2020. But since the punishment for stealing a dog is £200-250 ($270-$340) fine, many thefts see the risk is worth the reward. May thinks tougher sanctions would help reduce theft.

Source: BBC News Daily/YouTube

“Because there’s been such a huge demand for puppies especially, we’ve seen people start to try and meet this demand by acting illegally and illicitly,” said Sam Gaines, the head of companion animals at the RSPCA.

We encourage everyone thinking of getting a pet to adopt instead of shop. Read more resources about adopting animals on One Green Planet, including 7 Reasons to Adopt Your Next Furry Best Friend, 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Adopt a Pet, and These Heartwarming Before and After Pictures of Adopted Rescue Animals Will Make Your Day! Read tips for pet adoptions and what to consider before adopting an animal. We recommend using these apps to find shelter dogs near you!

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