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A disturbing new crime is [emerging / emerged] worldwide that should be of concern to dog owners. Criminal gangs are [gauged / engaged] in wide-scale dog theft. In the UK it has turned into a lucrative [but / so] illicit industry. A theft in the USA last week became global news [has / as] the dog walker of pop singer Lady Gaga was shot in the [chest / chests] as thieves stole her two pet bulldogs. The UK is experiencing a [blunt / sharp] rise in dog theft. Lockdowns due to coronavirus have led to a [boom / bloom] in pet sales as many people look for solace and companionship [on / in] animals. Sales of what are being [daubed / dubbed] "pandemic puppies" have skyrocketed. Unscrupulous criminals are now stealing dogs, often attacking their owners, and selling the [canines / canes] for up to $9,000.

The police warned dog owners to take [extremely / extreme] care online and in parks. People [have / are] been advised not to post pictures of their pets on social media. Police have also [recommendation / recommended] people take their dogs for a walk with a friend and not [leave / stay] dogs unattended in cars. The organisation DogLost said many people are buying dogs online without asking [diligence / diligent] background questions. A Change.org petition said the punishment for dog theft is the same [was / as] for a stolen smartphone. It said: "Dognapping has [almost / most] the same effect [on / in] a family as kidnapping, as pets are [seeing / seen] as family members. It is time the law reflected this in the sentencing of [defenders / offenders] ."

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