Ten dogs a day are being stolen in the UK, while the country remains in lockdown.
Dog thieves have targeted walkers, gardens, kennels and homes and according to animal charities, the pandemic has prompted the worst year ever.
The dog theft epidemic in the UK has forced police to warn owners to stay vigilant, as there is a massive rise in puppy prices, writes The Mirror.
In the US, Lady Gaga's bouncer was shot in the chest and her two French Bulldogs taken in this week.
People are being ‘gazumped’ for puppies with some now paying up to £4,000 for a pet.
Missing pets website ‘Dogs Lost’ reported a 170% increase in the number of dogs missing across the UK since the start of the pandemic.
Debbie Matthews from Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance estimates ten dogs a day are being snatched.
Sir Bruce Forsyth’s daughter told The Mirror: “When lockdown happened everyone wanted a puppy so immediately that put prices up.
“At the start, people had their names down for a £1,000 puppy but they were being gazumped with someone offering £2,500.
“It is the biggest crime during Covid but many people are still unaware.
“Before lockdown about six dogs a day were stolen we estimate that’s now about ten dogs a day in the UK.
“It’s seen as low risk and high reward crime. It’s a criminal's dream job."
Dog thieves have even been dressing up as fake RSPCA inspectors with white vans to grab pets.
One woman in Sheffield last Monday was dragged out of her car by her hair as thieves attempted to steal her dog.
The driver of the van got out of the vehicle and approached her car at 2pm, asking her to hand over her dog, a Lhasa Apso.
When the woman refused, the man grabbed her by the hair through the open window and pulled her out of the car, causing her to fall to the ground.
The two men, aged 30 and 33, were arrested this week on suspicion of attempted robbery and remain in custody at this time.
A “devastated” pet owner in London is pleading for the return of her pet after carjackers stole a dog walker’s van in New Barnet in north London on February 18th, at around 1pm.
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Two dogs were later dumped, one of them called Chester, who is terminally ill with cancer, who was left near flats in Kent.
But Nala the one-year-old Maltipoo is still missing.
Her owner, Marina Pettigrew, has launched a nationwide appeal for her one-year-old pup.
Her niece, Melina Georgiou, 27, said: “Nala is our family dog.
“We are grieving and it’s an emotional roller coaster. It will traumatise us forever but it’s worse for her. The thought she thinks we’ve abandoned her or she’s being treated badly is horrendous.
“There’s no way in hell we are going to give up looking for her.
“They’ve messed with the wrong family.”
She said they bought Nala for £1,400 but recently she saw one sold online for £4,000, which she thinks is part of the problem.
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