New figures reveal the number of dog thefts in Kent are amongst the highest across England and Wales with around 360 dogs stolen in the past two two-and-a-half years.  

Since 2013, more than 5,000 dogs have been reported stolen across the two countries.

The BBC obtained information showing a 22.4 per cent rise in canine theft in the last two years – the data shows that for every 10,000 people nearly 2.4 dogs in Kent were stolen between 2013 to April 2016. 

Using 2014 consensus figures, approximately 1.5million people live in Kent, meaning that on average 360 dogs have been stolen in that time. 

Kent Police however reported the same number of dog thefts in 2015 as they did two years previously. 

News Shopper:
Kent has the second highest figures across England and Wales

The Dartford MP, Gareth Johnson called for new laws to prosecute dog thieves in March to tackle the problem. 

Speaking in parliament on March 2, Mr Johnson said: “I do not criticise this or any previous Government, but it is necessary to appreciate the devastating impact that the theft of a dog has on its owner. 

“That emotional impact overrides the financial loss, but too often our court systems are geared up to deal with such thefts simply as a form of property crime. 

“The theft of a dog is a particularly nasty offence. 

“Sometimes dogs are targeted because of their monetary value, but often it is done to allow grief stricken owners to put up reward posters in the area, with those rewards then claimed by the actual perpetrator.”

He added: “ I would sooner have my mobile phone or even my car stolen than my dog. It is not a chattel and should not be treated as such. 

“A distinction should be made when it comes to sentencing.”

News Shopper: Dartford MP Gareth Johnson at the debate.
Dartford MP, Gareth Johnson wants a new law put in place to combat the problem

Nottinghamshire had the highest number of dog thefts – ranking just above Kent.

In total, at least 5,288 dogs were reported stolen with 1,490 taken in 2013, 1,599 in 2014 and 1,776 in 2015 with a particular focus on Staffordshire bull terriers, miniatures like French bulldogs and pugs as well as gun dogs.

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