Puppy warning as dognapping on rise after lockdown causes surge in prices

Warnings have been raised about a rise in dognapping after lockdown caused a surge in puppy prices.

Dog owners are being urged to keep a close eye on their pets after thefts soared by 65% this year, according to the charity DogLost.

The lockdown earlier this year led to a huge demand for dogs from Brits spending more time at home.

Figures show the cost of a dachshund nearly doubled in price to £1,800 from March to June, while English Bulldogs rose 30% to more than £2,000.

French Bulldogs and Pugs have also shot up in price.

Experts say puppies are at particular risk of being stolen as many are unlikely to have been neutered, the i newspaper reported.

It means they could be used to breed litters in time for Christmas when demand is high, creating a "lucrative market" for smugglers, the charity Dogs Trust warned.

Dozens of dogs have reportedly gone missing from homes and kennels in the past fortnight alone, with a Rottweiler snatched from a house in Gloucestershire.

In Gwent, Wales four eight-week-old puppies were stolen from a farm last week.

Police are urging dog owners to be vigilant and say thieves may be using cable ties or chalk markings to mark out homes with pets at risk.

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Alice Carroll told the newspaper a dog snatcher tried to grab her miniature five-month poodle Rudie with a plastic sack in east London last Saturday.

But her pet was pulled away in time by her boyfriend Ross.

She said: "I think he had intent – he was trying to get a dog that day.

“He actually said he was looking for dogs like mine.

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"My dog is a toy poodle, and it's quite a popular dog at the moment – during lockdown the prices have shot up.

"Now I'm a bit concerned about going out by myself with him."

Paula Boyden of the Dogs Trust said: "It's shocking to see how prices for some of the most popular smuggled breeds have increased during the coronavirus lockdown.

"With puppies selling for such high prices, it's creating a lucrative market for cruel smugglers.”

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