London – The 35-year-old Welsh woman was stunned when Sarah was stolen from six dogs in late December. “I was shocked, angry, scared, and of course worried about the dogs too.” It was her husband who discovered the broken door to the link where the dogs were sleeping – the couple was one of the victims of dog theft, which greatly increased in the UK during corona infections. Four Bottardale Terriers and a Border Terrier from the family are still missing, an English Springer Spaniel was discovered by a passerby a month after the theft.
According to Doglost, the number of dog thefts in Great Britain has increased by 250 per cent since March 2020: “It’s a growing epidemic like the corona virus,” Wayne May from Dog Lost said. Join their owners with the help of online databases. “I’ve been doing this for 30 years now, and 2020 is going to be an even worse year.”
The English have long known a dog lover, but since the onset of the epidemic, many have sought to overcome loneliness and fears with the help of four-legged comrades. Prices, especially for puppies, are of interest to skyscrapers, seed growers and criminals.
Pets4Homes, an online marketplace for selling and adopting dogs, offers about 150,000 offers between March and September, with the average price per dog being 1, 1,883 (4 2149). During the same period last year, it was less than half of $ 888. Puppies of some requested breeds such as Spaniels, Bulldogs, Bucks and Mixed-Breed Poodles are sometimes called for over 4000.
Interest is growing from criminal gangs
At the same time, the “pets” section on the website of the animal welfare organization RSPCA was clicked 40 million times – an increase of 13 million compared to the same period last year. “Especially since puppies are in such great demand, people are trying to meet that demand illegally and without permission,” said Sam Keynes of RSBCA. This led to an increase in imported puppies: “We are very concerned about the way puppies are raised and raised outside the UK and the long journeys they have to endure.”
Criminal gangs are also now showing growing interest: “Before the epidemic, it was normal theft,” says May from Doclast. “Everything changed last year. We now organize dog-stealing gangs to breed dogs or collect rewards or ransoms.
According to May, only hefty fines will help: “In the UK it is now more profitable to be a dog thief than a drug dealer because the fines do not match the crime.” The only fine for stealing a dog is 200 to £ 250: “For such an absurd amount, criminal gangs are willing to take this risk.”