Sound like something out of a horror film? Not anymore. Over lockdown, we have seen a dramatic rise in ‘dog snatching’ as the demand for these popular pets increases. What started off as just a few people getting a dog to help them through lockdown has now become a mass movement of people buying ‘pandemic puppies’. This means their price has skyrocketed, giving thieves and criminals a new target.


The biggest increase in dog theft was in Northumbria, where between January and July 2020 the police recorded 67 thefts, compared to 27 the year before, according to the BBC. Not only is this a horrible experience for the puppies, the owners are left traumatised and depressed after having their pets taken away. It is not widely recognised by people who aren’t dog owners, but having a puppy is like a having a small child; the level of distress caused by a dog-napping can be the same as a kidnapping for some people. However, the police treat these cases with much less importance, which has the effect of there being an extremely low apprehension rate – just 1 in 100. The question is, is it right for them to do so?


On one hand, although dogs fill the place of a lifelong companion and a dear friend, their value is still surely below that of a human life? There is still a massive number of missing people cases, and the number only grows. Perhaps it would be more productive to work on those cases instead of tracking down someone’s stolen pet? Many dog owners would beg to differ, referencing their mental health as a valid reason. When dogs are considered a part of the family, they should be treated as such, by the public and the police. This could be taken into account by the police force or in the law, hopefully showing these dog-nappers that what they are doing is not just petty theft.