Top tips for keeping your pets safe

Cat and dog ownership has increased during the pandemic, but sadly so have incidences of pets being stolen. Follow our tips to help ensure your pet stays safe.

While the UK has long been regarded as a nation of animal lovers, there has been an explosion in cat and dog ownership during the pandemic. With many people at home more than usual, they have decided it is the perfect time to introduce a new pet to the home. Likewise with people working from home more often, people can enjoy the companionship.

However, there is a dark side to this increase; pet theft is also on the rise. Newspapers and online news stories regularly carry stories about distressed owners who have seen their beloved family pet stolen. Often, it involves pedigree animals or rare breeds, who can then be sold on for a handsome price or used for breeding. 

While pet theft is not a specific crime – despite government petitions to this end in recent years – the consensus seems to be that it is on the rise, although it can be difficult to get accurate statistics for this reason, and that some Police forces don’t keep records on it.

However, data from Freedom of Information requests from Pet Theft Awareness in 2020 give an indication of the scale of the problem. It showed that recorded cat theft crime was up by 12.3% on a like-for-like basis compared to 2019, with crimes up by a worrying 194% between 2015 and 2020. Bengals and Maine Coons were the breeds most often stolen.

Certain breeds of dog are also attractive to thieves, such as labradoodles, French bulldogs and Staffordshire bull terriers.

There is also evidence that organised gangs are moving into this area, with some animals stolen to order.

With this in mind, owners need to be vigilant and do what they can to keep their pets safe. Here are our tips on how to help limit the chances of falling victim t this crime.

Security tags

It is a legal requirement to microchip your dog so if it does go missing, it can be traced back to you. Owners are not legally required to do this for cats – although this is likely to change in the future – but it is a good idea to.

It is also practical to have your contact details on your dog’s collar, although experts recommend not putting their name on it, as a potential thief could see that and then call them to lure them away.

Secure garden

There have been cases of pets being stolen from gardens. While many people take home security seriously, the garden can be neglected.

Obviously, gardens are many and varied, but in general, if you let your pet into the back garden, make sure there are high fences (at least 6ft) so others cannot easily see in, or jump over it to snatch a pet. Likewise, if there is access to the back garden from the road or side of the house via a gate or door, make sure that it can be securely locked, be that with a lock and key, padlock or bolt, or combination thereof.

If you do have locks, ensure they are of a high standard and not easily picked. For padlocks, choose one that has a little of the ‘loop’ showing as possible – that makes then more difficult to be cut with things like bolt cutters.

Inta-lock Locksmiths in Leicester can provide and fit a range of locks, padlocks and bolts for doors and gates. For more information, call our team on …

Secure home

There have been stories in the media of thieves knocking doors of houses in the daytime and if they hear a dog barking, but nobody answers the door, leaving a chalk mark outside the house. This then marks the house as a target for the thieves to come back at a later date and break into the house and steal the dog.

This means it may be worth checking how secure your house is and considering whether anything needs upgrading. For instance, how new and strong are the locks? Should you consider installing deadbolts to make front and/or back doors more secure? Is it worth installing CCTV?

Locksmiths such as Inta-Lock Locksmiths can provide independent security evaluations for customers and, if it is decided that more security is needed, install whatever is wanted, from upgraded locks to CCTV.

Beware on social media

Many people are active on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and, naturally, want to put pictures of their cute new pet on. But users should beware of doing this; if your account is open, meaning anyone can see what you post, you could be making it a target for thieves, especially if it is a desirable or rare breed.

Take care out and about

Be on your guard when out with your dog and try not to leave them alone at any time. If you leave a dog in your car – and it shouldn’t be done for long periods – ensure that there is enough ventilation for them: we have all heard the tragic stories of dogs dying in hot care. However, that can also mean they are vulnerable to being taken by opportunistic thieves.

Also, don’t leave your dog unattended – for example outside a shop – as again, it can be targeted by opportunistic thieves.

GPS tracker

These devices are worn by your pet and means you can see their whereabouts in real time. These are worth considering but remember they can be removed. Also, if the worst happens and your pet is stolen, don’t consider tracking down your pet and confronting the thieves yourself – get the police involved.

While nothing is every completely foolproof, following these tips will lessen the chances of your pet becoming victim to thieves.

If you are concerned about the security of you home and/or garden, call Inta-lock Locksmiths in Leicester. Our experienced technicians can give impartial advice on the security of your home and garden, and, if necessary, install additional security for you. For more information, or for a no obligation quote, call one of our friendly team.