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Another issue linked to the on-going pandemic, is the dramatic rise in dog thefts. 

For many dog owners and search dog handlers, the pandemic has meant more time spent at home with their dogs. There has also been a dramatic increase in demand for dogs, with people looking for additional company and comfort at home during lockdown. The effect of this has resulted in a dramatic increase in the cost for new dogs and puppies. Naturally, this supply and demand imbalance has led to a dramatic increase in the theft of these animals.

Some animal charities are reporting the current levels of dog theft as the highest they have ever known. In March 2021, DogLost, a UK charity that helps victims of dog theft, recorded a 170% increase in the crime, from 172 dogs reported stolen in 2019 to 465 in 2020.

The issue of dog theft has become so acute that a taskforce has now been set up by the government to look into tackling the crime of pet theft, which has soared during the pandemic. 

The taskforce will look into what is contributing to the rise in dognapping, and recommend solutions to tackle the problem. It will be made up of officials from the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs, the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice as well as the police, seeking input from animal welfare groups and experts.

It is comforting to know that the government are intent on tackling the deplorable crime of animal theft and here the Metropolitan Police provide a really useful guide containing some simple steps to prevent your dog(s) being stolen and what you should do if your dog is stolen:

Thankfully there have also been some great technological advances to prevent the theft of your dog, such as Locking dog collars, Apple Airtags within bespoke collars to track a lost/stolen dog and obviously you should always ensure your dog is micro-chipped.