For many dog owners, the pandemic has meant more time at home with their pets. But the demand for dogs has also led to a huge increase in thefts. The value of some breeds has tripled in the past year and criminals have been quick to cash in as Anna Youssef reports.
Samantha Hatton's 18 month old Beagle, Star, was stolen from her Rochdale home last month.
Thieves broke in late at night while Samantha was having a bath and Star was in the kitchen.
The theft was reported to police. Samantha now spends her days searching the surrounding area and posting appeals on social media. She fears Star, who's white and tan with a distinctive love heart on her left side, was stolen for breeding.
The charity DogLost says there's been a 170% increase in dog thefts since lockdown started. Only about 1% of dog thefts ever end up in court. Punishment is usually a fine or community service.
Samantha hopes she'll be reunited with Star soon, until then she'll keep searching.
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