Dog owners are becoming more frightened to walk with their four-legged friends in daytime amid a 170% surge in dog kidnapping.
DogLost, an aid group that helps victims of dog theft, handled 465 dognapping cases last year from 172 dogs reported stolen in 2019.
In February, the police warned that dog thefts by organised criminals had risen, however, dog theft is not ruled as a specific crime as dogs are classed as “property” under the Theft Act 1968.
Groups such as the Stolen and Missing Pets Association have called for the law to be changed so it could be punishable by custodial sentences.
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne also supported the call, saying: “Police forces across the country must have a badges for dog theft notifications on their systems as it is currently difficult to follow this growing crime trend and to set an appropriate police response.”