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Have your say - dog theft survey

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill is supporting a national survey designed to understand public perception of dog theft, enforcement, and the prosecution of offenders.

Demand for dogs as pets has increased during the coronavirus pandemic. The cost of some puppies, on Pets4Homes, is currently as high as £3,000, making them a valuable commodity to criminals. 

According to Dog Lost, the UK's largest lost and found dog service, it is estimated thefts have risen by 250 per cent, with criminal gangs involved.

The Home Secretary is currently reviewing the issue of pet theft and what future enforcement may look like with potentially tougher penalties for perpetrators.


The survey includes a question seeking views on whether companion animals should be treated in law as sentient beings, not merely as property.

The public’s responses, which will be collected by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, will help inform discussions that PCCs will have on this issue nationally and allow police forces to better understand the public’s views on this crime and how they might improve their response to these concerns.

Martyn Underhill, Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “As an animal lover, I understand the close emotional bonds people develop with their pets and how distressing this crime must be to victims.

“I know many dog lovers regard their pet as a friend or family member, not merely as property, and this survey looks into whether that should be recognised in law.

“It will help policy makers understand the experiences of dog owners who have had their pets stolen and assess the level of support for creating harsher punishments. I urge anyone who cares about this issue to complete the survey.”

The 60-second survey will be open until 5pm on Friday 12th March at

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Comments (1)

  1. Linda Dearman Mar 02, 2021 at 09:06 AM

    A dog owner must... buy pet from registered owner or via respected animal rescue centres, involving a home visit and references.microchip their pet. Have yearly vaccinations. Buy insurance, have pet seat belt in car. Keep on lead in most places,train, groom,accept restrictions e.g. not on beach. Not go into shops,can't take into cafes and restaurants , can't leave at home over certain time,don't leave in the car. Muzzle if over zealous,have a collar,microchip and collar tag with full details , difficult to take on holiday. If a pet is just a possession then is as much time energy and money spent on your fridge, lawn mower, your bicycle and your TV. Ultimately no of course not, but and a big but is that you may like your fridge and tv but you love your pet, so much,that it hurts you. That's why the theft of a pet could and should never be classed as property theft.

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