It is very difficult to get accurate statistics about dog theft, because dogs are accounted merely as property, and not listed separately. But, by all accounts there has been a very considerable increase in dog kidnapping. This is in part attributable to the internet, because there are websites where you can go to find a missing dog, and it is quite easy for kidnappers to pretend to have found a stray.

Both dog kidnapping and dog theft (which also seems to be on the increase, especially for sporting dogs) cause intense misery to owners and their children, and thus more effort should be made to end this odious and cruel crime. At the very least there are 3,500 dog thefts a year. But the true figure is probably many more, because people may be reluctant to report the theft, especially when they pay kidnap money. The latter may even reach thousands of pounds. Some 50,000 dog losses are apparently reported to insurance companies. While all these would not be thefts, this may indicate how great the problem may be. Several actions could mitigate this dreadful and increasing scourge:

1. Dog thefts should be logged separately in the records, and given a case
number. Thus we at least would have the data.

2. A specific offence should be created, along with severe punishment, for
what is an evil crime.

3. I believe that mandatory micro-chipping is on the way. This welcome
reform can be used to great advantage to mitigate the problem. There should
be a legal obligation that, instead of keeping a stray dog, the finder
should take it to a vet to be scanned for micro-chips.

4. The law should be cleared up and simplified regarding the issue of vets
scanning for micro-chips. At present they frequently refuse to scan for
micro-chips, citing the Data Protection Act. This excuse should be ended;
and they should also be obliged to scan all new dogs that are brought in by

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