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    Britain’s dog theft rises amid epidemic demand

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    Prices for puppies but older dogs have skyrocketed, attracting the interest of greedy breeders and criminals.

    When Sara’s six dogs were stolen in late December, she was released. But she was not alone, as a growing number of pets have experienced similar losses across Britain.

    “I can’t feel it because there were so many – I was basically shocked, upset, nervous because of how it happened”, told AFP news agency AFP

    “(I) was clearly really, really, really worried for dogs and it’s hard to keep up with daily life because you feel guilty.”

    The thieves disappeared after sleeping overnight on family property in a quiet village near the town of Port Talbot, South Wales.

    Five are missing, but one of them – a female English Springer Spaniel – was recently found by a passer-by, and a vet was able to trace her back to Sarah.

    She There was a bad wound where the criminals unsuccessfully tried to remove his microchip.

    Saarah said, “Seeing the injuries to my spaniel, (I) am now even more concerned about the dogs.

    ‘Huge demand’

    The UK has seen an explosion in dog theft numbers since the pandemic of the coronavirus virus and consequently the lockdown began early last year, as demand for pets has grown.

    “It’s just growing as an epidemic in the form of COVID,” said Wayne May, from DogLost, an organization that tries to reunite missing canines with their owners using their online databases.

    “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and 2020 was the worst year ever,” he said, adding that dog theft had increased by an estimated 250 percent since March last year.

    Already known as a nation of dog lovers, a growing number of Britons seek out four-legged companions during a virus lockdown to help them cope with loneliness and anxiety.

    An organization in Britain estimated a 250 percent increase in dog theft since the onset of the epidemic in the country [File: Oli Scarff/AFP]

    Prices for puppies but older dogs have skyrocketed, attracting greedy breeders – and criminals’ interest.

    Figures from Pets 4 Homs, an online marketplace for sales and adoption, asked for an average price of 1,883 British pounds ($ 2,575) in about 150,000 listings from March to September.

    The average price during the same period last year was half the 888 British pounds ($ 1,214).

    Some puppies of popular breeds, such as spaniels, bulldogs, pugs and poodle crossbreads, can be listed for more than 4,000 British pounds ($ 5,400).

    Adoption is also increasing

    Meanwhile, adoption has also accelerated.

    The pet section of the animal welfare charity RSPCA’s website attracted 40 million views in the final nine months of 2020 – an increase of 13 million compared to 2019.

    Sam Gaines, head of companion animals at the RSPCA, said, “Because there is such a huge demand for puppies, we have seen people start to meet this demand by acting illegally and illegally.”

    He It also stated that puppies were being brought from abroad due to additional demand.

    “We are very concerned about how the puppies are reared and reared from outside the UK, and how long they actually have to travel to get to this country,” Gaines told AFP.

    According to Doglost’s May, organized criminal groups are now taking increasing interest in the area, with less coordinated thieves active in stealing more opportunistic dogs.

    “Before the epidemic … it was opportunity theft, a very, very small percentage were criminal gangs or specifically targeted robberies,” he explained.

    “This all changed last year … Now we are getting organized gangs and groups, to watch their dogs for stealing or for a reward or ransom.”

    May believes that only strict restrictions can discourage the increasing number of thieves.

    “Being a dog thief is more attractive in the United Kingdom than becoming a drug dealer, because the punishment does not fit the crime,” he said, punishing a dog for stealing a palatry £ 200-250 ($ 270) is $ 340) ok

    “Criminal gangs are willing to risk for such palatry totals.”

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