With the number of pet thefts on the rise, owners have been offered help and advice on how to protect their furry friends.
The penny-pinching team at NetVoucherCodes.co.uk have collated the best tips on how to protect much-loved pets from theft, as the number of crimes has come to an all-time high during the lockdown.
The parents of pets ranging from bunnies, dogs, guinea pigs and cats are being warned to be vigilant.
But the owners of pedigree pups should be extra vigilant, as they are the most reported lost pet.
Since the start of the lockdown, there has been a 170% increase in the reports of dog theft, but only around 1% of cases are thought to make it to court.
Cat theft crimes have nearly tripled since 2015 and are continuing to rise year on year.
A spokesperson for NetVoucherCodes.co.uk said: “The lockdown has changed a lot of people’s work-life balance, with less time spent in the office and commuting. This has certainly increased the demand for a furry companion in the home.
“The cost of purchasing a puppy has dramatically risen over this period. Prices pre-pandemic averaged at around £500, but they have since increased to over £2,000.
“As a result of this high demand and costly pet prices, criminals looking to make quick money have been stealing owned pets for breeding or reselling purposes. Whilst this crime is on the rise, there are preventative measures pet owners can take to ensure their fur babies are safe.”
Tips to prevent pet theft:
1. Be extra vigilant
When your pet is roaming free on their walks or playing in the distance, keep a close eye on them and teach dogs how to respond to a recall, so they return to you quickly if they are approached by a stranger.
2. Avoid location tagging on socials
Almost every single proud pet owner will have a ream of photos of them and their precious pup or beautiful bunny. We all love to see pictures of dogs on social media, but tagging locations of your home, specific parks and walking routes could alert potential thieves to the pet’s routine and alone time.
3. Keep your property secure
There are numerous ways to keep a property secure for pets. Owners should consider planting raised hedging or high fences to make garden areas more private. Make sure that the space your pet spends time in outdoors is well enclosed, so they can’t escape and so that potential thieves can’t gain entry. Owners with an accessible entrance to their garden should fit locks and a bell to the gate, as it will alert homeowners to anyone that opens it.
4. Don’t leave pets alone in a car
Drivers wouldn’t consider leaving their valuables out on display unattended in a car, so a loved family pet should be no different. Generally, dogs should never be left in a car alone for health reasons, especially on warm days.
5. Report any suspicious activities
Owners of particularly targeted pets, such as dogs, should report any suspicious or unusual activity to the police. This can help them build a log of incidents and allow them time to issue warnings to other pet owners in the area. It is also important to remember that puppies are the most attractive to thieves, as they are rarely microchipped, have no pet ID and can fetch a high price when sold on.
6. Avoid routine
Those that are aware of a rise in dog thefts in their areas should switch up their routines, walking routes and times their dog is allowed out. This will prevent potential thieves from knowing where a dog might be at certain times.
7. Whilst away
Sometimes even the proudest of pet owners have to go away for work, have a busy day or need a holiday, so take care when picking who will look after your pet. Ask for references from independent pet sitters or use a reputable pet boarding company.
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