A disturbing new crime is emerging that should concern dog owners. Criminal gangs are engaged in the lucrative but illicit business of dog theft. One case in the USA last week was global news as the dog walker of pop singer Lady Gaga was shot in the chest as thieves stole her two dogs. There is a sharp rise in dog theft in the UK. Coronavirus lockdowns have led to a boom in pet sales. People bought "pandemic puppies" for solace and companionship. Criminals are now stealing dogs, often attacking their owners, and selling the canines for up to $9,000.
Dog owners must take extreme care online and in parks. They should not post pictures of their pets on social media. They should also take their dogs for a walk with a friend and not leave them unattended. The organisation DogLost said people are buying dogs online without asking background questions. A Change.org petition said the punishment for dog theft is the same as for a stolen smartphone. It said: "Dognapping has almost the same effect on a family as kidnapping, as pets are seen as family members. It is time the law reflected this in the sentencing of offenders."