DOG thefts in Gwent have risen slightly in the past year, new figures show.

A total of 36 dog thefts were reported to Gwent Police in the 12 months to March 31, according to data from the force in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the Press Association’s RADAR service.

This is a slight rise from the 33 reported from April 2019-March 2020, when the number had stayed the same as the previous year.


Across this latest 12-month period elsewhere in Wales, Dyfed-Powys Police recorded 37 dog thefts and South Wales Police reported 12. North Wales Police did not provide any figures.

March saw the highest number of offences reported in Gwent (eight), while August saw six offences reported.

April, November and December saw one offence reported each, and in general, months where Wales was in lockdown saw fewer offences than the previous year, except for February and March 2021.

The rise in Gwent - which equates to a 9.1 per cent increase - is lower than the 11 per cent rise recorded overall by police forces across England and Wales.

Overall, at least 1,791 offences were recorded in 2020/21 across the police forces which responded to the FOI request, compared to 1,612 reported in 2019/20.

Animal welfare charities have welcomed a move by the Government to crack down on pet thefts, with a new taskforce set to investigate a rise in offences across the UK.

Sales platforms have seen a “considerable rise” in puppy and kitten prices in the last year as more people look to buy or adopt during the pandemic, the Government said, with reports suggesting the increase in demand may have fuelled a rise in pet thefts.

Gwent Police deputy chief constable, and the National Police Chiefs Council’s acquisitive crime lead, Amanda Blakeman, said: “Dog theft is a crime with a huge emotional impact for the families who lose a much-loved pet.

“Every one of these cases causes devastation to the owners and we’re committed to investigating every such crime reported to us.

“There has been an increase in public awareness of this offence, although national reports of this crime are low, including at Gwent Police.

“The reporting of this crime is difficult. There is no specific category for recording a crime as dog theft, and the data on pet theft is incomplete, with different figures published.

“In my role as the national lead for acquisitive crime, which includes dog theft, I will work with the newly-established taskforce on pet theft.

“One of the aims of the taskforce is to get a clearer national picture of this issue and obtain a true and realistic reflection of this crime type.

“We’d encourage those buying a dog to seek advice online before they purchase their pet, making sure they check where it’s come from and it’s being bought legally.

“There are some prevention measures that can also be taken - dog owners are advised to check privacy settings on social media before sharing pictures of their pets, as this can attract the attention of some criminals.”