Dog Theft Awareness Day in the UK Date in the current year: March 14, 2024

Dog Theft Awareness Day in the UK Dog Theft Awareness Day is observed in the United Kingdom on March 14. It was created to raise awareness of dog theft, alert pet owners about the worrying number of dogs that are stolen every year, and educate them on how to protect their pets from being stolen.

Dog theft is a much more common crime that one might think. According to estimates, around 2,000 dogs are stolen from their owners every year in the UK (that’s more than 5 dogs per day!), accounting for about 70% of all pet thefts. Most dogs are stolen for profit by dog flippers (people who sell them on a black market), illegal breeders, or people running dog fights. Sometimes dogs are stolen for ransom, but it is relatively uncommon.

The top ten dog breeds targeted by thieves in the UK are the English Bulldog, French Bulldog, XL Bully, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, American Bulldog, Dachshund, Shih Tzu, German Shepherd, Labrador, and Chihuahua. According to Direct Pet Line Insurance, only about 16% of stolen pets are reunited with their owners.

In the United Kingdom, dog theft is classified as loss of property for the owner under the Theft Act 1968. This means that the severity of sentence depends on the dog’s value. The maximum sentence for dog theft is a seven-year imprisonment, but it rarely comes to that; the most common punishment is a fine if the thief gets caught. Animal welfare activists and pet owners across the country have been campaigning for pet theft being recognized as an offense in its own right and punished more severely.

Dog Theft Awareness Day was launched in 2017 by the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (SAMPA), an organization campaigning to protect domestic pets from theft and have pet abduction recognized as an offense in its own right. It is observed on March 14 every year, kicking off Pet Theft Awareness Week. The main goals of this awareness day are to draw public attention to SAMPA’s campaign for Pet Theft Reform and educate dog owners on the measures they can take to protect their beloved pets from theft.

Here are a few theft prevention tips that all dog owners should be aware of:

  • Have your dog microchipped and store your pet’s microchip number in your mobile phone so that it is easily accessible in case of emergency.
  • Make sure your house and garden are secure; think about installing CCTV and/or outside sensor lighting.
  • Don’t leave your dog unattended in your garden, vehicle, or outside a shop.
  • Don’t let your dog out of sight when on a walk, especially when your pet is off the leash in a dog park.
  • Try to vary walk routes.
  • Don’t talk on your phone or wear headphones while walking your dog.
  • Be careful when sharing your dog’s photos on social media.

How can you get involved with Dog Theft Awareness Day? Start by learning more about pet theft statistics and prevention, share the facts you’ve learned with others, and raise awareness of the campaign for #PetTheftReform. If you have a dog, take measures to protect your pet from theft and encourage fellow dog owners to do the same. Finally, take a couple of minutes to spread the word about the observance on social media with the hashtag #DogTheftAwarenessDay.

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