DOG thefts are on the rise in the West Midlands.
Charity Dog’s Trust has issued a warning to owners following an alarming recent incident in the south Warwickshire village of Bidford.
A woman walking her Chihuahua on a lead in the south Warwickshire village of Bidford mid-morning on Friday January 12 when she was grabbed by two men.
One forced her arm behind her back, while the second tried to unhook the dog from its harness.
But the scared dog snapped at the thief, and the robbers then fled empty-handed after another person came along.
Across the West Midlands some 50 dogs have been reported stolen in the past year. The most commonly taken breeds were Spaniels and ‘designer dogs’ such as Chihuahuas and Dachshunds, with sometimes whole litters and pregnant dogs taken.
The total of number of dogs stolen could be much higher as litters of puppies and unborn pups were not included in the figures.
A Dog’s Trust spokeswoman said: “Sadly, dog theft is on the increase and we urge dog owners to be vigilant and ensure the security of your dog whether in your home, in your garden or out in public.
“Having your dog neutered can help prevent them from being stolen as neutering makes male dogs less attractive to dog thieves for breeding.
“Microchipping is the most effective way to assist in a lost dog being returned to their owner but it is important to ensure the chip is registered and details kept up to date.”
Dogs Trust say the lack of laws protecting animals does little to deter them, with current laws listing pets as property.
The maximum penalty for stealing a pet is six months imprisonment, but more often a fine.
The Trust spokeswoman added: “We believe existing sentencing does nothing to act as a deterrent to thieves.
“Currently, dogs are treated like any other form of property and, as such, paltry fines are mostly given.
“We want the Sentencing Council to recognise dogs as part of the family and acknowledge the emotional impact of dog theft.
“Linked to this, we want an increase in sentencing so, at the bare minimum, a community order or prison sentence is given, not a fine.”
Police are urging anyone with information about the attempted robbery of the Chihuahua in Bidford to contact them. Both men were white, in their 20s, and one was bald.