North West becomes dog theft hotspot during lockdown

Credit: PA Images

The North West saw more dog thefts than anywhere else in England last year.

According to new research released by Direct Line, this particular crime is on the increase. It comes after more and more of us are bringing home pets, with prices for new puppies sharply rising during the pandemic.

More than two million people brought home a new pet during the first six months of lockdown alone. The rise in demand and prices has led to a surge in animals being stolen to sell or breed.

19%

Rise in dog thefts during the pandemic

20%

Only a fifth have been reunited with their owners

2438

stolen dogs reported to police

15%

of all thefts occurred in the North West, more than anywhere else

Last month, two black Labradors were stolen after being left outside an M&S in Nantwich in Cheshire. Thankfully, both dogs were found were later found by police.



Unfortunately, not everyone is so lucky. Elaine Hardy's Fox Red Labrador was stolen in December. Rosie was taken from the back garden and hasn't been seen since.

Rosie has been missing since December Credit: Elaine Hardy

Our lives just don't feel the same. I come down in the morning normally Rosie's the first to greet me, jumping all over me. The house is so quiet. There's a pain inside all the time, it's like grief. It's really heartbreaking.

Elaine Hardy

Elaine has leafleted her local area, checked neighbour's CCTV and appealed for dash cam footage in search for Rosie.

Sadly, to add to her pain, she's also received prank calls, with people claiming to have found Rosie, threatening her and demanding a ransom.

The theft of Rosie, who's almost two, was reported to police, but as of yet, the investigation has not yielded any results.

There are now calls for the law to change, with harsher punishments for those who steal pets.

The most commonly stolen dog breeds in 2020 were:

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • Crossbreeds

  • Cocker Spaniel

  • Bulldog

  • Labrador

  • Jack Russell

  • Border Collie

  • Springer Spaniel

  • Chihuahua

  • French Bulldog