Pet owner slept downstairs for months after theft of missing dogs Missy and Biscuit

Lisa Lilley describes what is has been like since her two dogs were stolen

A pet owner from Staffordshire has told ITV she spent three months sleeping downstairs after thieves stole her two dogs.

It has been more than a year since Lisa Lilley's cocker spaniels, Missy and Biscuit, were taken from her home.

It comes as new research shows the number of dogs stolen across the UK has risen to the highest level since 2015.

Ms Lilley said: "Even now, after a year it still gets to me as if it was yesterday.

"It is just a nightmare that I don't want to be in. I just want to wake up and find that my girls are home."

Ms Lilley says the family have now had to equip their home with security to make sure their other three dogs are okay.

She said: "We've got CCTV cameras everywhere now, there is security everywhere, we have got security lights and everything, which we didn't have before.

"We are out in the country we didn't think we would need to do things like that.

"We've got lights going on but now it's like Blackpool illuminations here at nighttime."

"We've got security lights which we never had before"

It comes as police forces in Derbyshire and Northamptonshire have recorded some of the highest levels of dog thefts in the country over the last year.

In 2020, Northamptonshire Police recorded 20 stolen dogs, this rose to 53 in 2021.

The same year, Derbyshire Police recorded 30 stolen dogs, this rose to 48 in 2021.

Across the country, the number rose by 13 percent to almost 2,760 - meaning 53 dogs were stolen every week - almost eight every day.

Information from Direct Line Pet Insurance has also shown that French Bulldogs were the most commonly stolen breed of dog in 2021.

With Jack Russels, American Bulldogs, and Chihuahuas and pugs following behind.

What can you do to prevent your dog being stolen?

  • Do not leave the dogs unattended where possible

  • Invest in some sort of dash cam, ring doorbell or security footage.

  • Make sure your animals are microchipped and the details are all up to date.

  • Be vigilant, if someone makes you feel uncomfortable there is usually a reason for that so walk away.

  • Raise the alarm if you are really worried.