Pet Theft Awareness Day: How many offences in your area?

Small white and brown puppy in arms of a woman outside

21 dogs and 18 cats were taken in the borough over the last two years. - Credit: Bicanski via Pixnio

With a government bill in the works, aiming to make it easier to clamp down on dog thieves, we look at how many pets have been stolen in north London boroughs over the past two years.

March 14 is the fifth annual Pet Theft Awareness Day, March 14, drawing attention to security issues for pet owners.

The government’s pet theft taskforce is trying to pass a bill in the House of Commons, which is awaiting its third reading and will make it easier for police forces to clamp down on dog thieves – a crime that has peaked during the pandemic as more people bought puppies.

According to data from police forces in England and Wales, there was a 3.5% increase in the number of reported dog thefts in 2020.

Since the March 2020 lockdown, Dog Lost, the largest lost and found service in the UK, claimed 2020 was the "worst year ever known" for stolen dogs.

North London was no anomaly for this type of crime. Dogs and cats were the most common targets for thieves, but in one London borough, fish were stolen. 

In 2020, 14 pets were reported stolen in Haringey, rising to 25 in the 12 months up to the end of February this year – a 56% increase. Over the two years, 21 dogs and 18 cats were taken in the borough. 

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In Camden, in 2021, 15 pets were stolen, compared to 25 in 2020.

Offences in Westminster were considerably lower. 16 pets – eight cats and eight dogs – were stolen in 2021 and five were taken in 2020.

In Brent, there was a 59% reduction in the number of pet thefts last year compared to 2020. 35 pets were stolen in 2020, which included 22 fish, nine dogs, two birds and two cats. In 2021, 19 pets were stolen – none of them fish.

Offences in Barnet have remained fairly consistent over the past two years, with 22 thefts in 2020 and 24 last year.

In Islington, 12 pets – one reptile, four cats and seven dogs – were stolen in 2020. 23 were stolen in 2021 – a 62% rise.

In Hackney, 24 pets were stolen in 2020 and 26 were taken last year – an 8% increase.