Dog theft

In late February/early March 2021 users of local social media started to publish and share various reports of potential or actual dog theft in the Surrey Heath borough. 

The following are statements from Surrey Police: 


Surrey Heath Beat have been made aware on a social media page where there are concerns of a 'dog knapper' using a blanket to steal dogs in the Mytchett area of Basingstoke Canal.
Police have not received any such reports about this and have patrolled the area with no sightings of such behaviour.
If anyone has concerns or information we would advise them coming forward and talk to the police so we can act on this if this is the case.


Dog thefts have been a hot topic on social media recently, so we wanted to address this issue with you here.

Throughout lockdown we have seen an increased demand for pets, particularly dogs. Google search results for "buy a puppy" increased by 115% since the beginning of lockdown, and this demand has led to a subsequent increase in prices. Sadly this means that criminals are stealing dogs to breed from or sell on for a profit, and this is true across the UK as a whole.

In Surrey, the number of reported dog thefts remains low. However, this may mean that there are thefts or attempted thefts that have not been reported to police. If you or someone you know has experienced or witnessed a dog theft or attempted dog theft, we need you to tell us.

If you want to share the information you have on social media, please make sure you have a police reference number; either a report number, or a call log number from when you reported it on the phone or online, and include that in your post. 

Without reference numbers, there could appear to be more dog thefts than there actually are in reality. If you see information shared without a police reference number, please check that it was reported to us before passing the information on. If not, please encourage that person to do so.

It has also come to our attention that there are questions online regarding cable ties fastened to lampposts. This is something that other police forces have received queries about, and concerns that these are used as markers to indicate properties containing dogs. To our knowledge, there is no correlation between cable ties on lampposts and dog thieves. If you have any information contrary to that, please report it to us.

You can report any information you have about dog thefts to us via

• Webchat on our website 
• Online - 
• Calling us on 101 

Alternatively, if you do not wish to leave your name, please call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

To protect your dogs from theft, we would recommend the following:

• Ensure your pet is microchipped and registered with up to date information. There are 15 pet microchip databases you can choose from that meet government standards, and you can find the list here: 
• Invest in a collar and name tag, but use your surname rather than your pet’s name on name tags. Include your telephone number so you can be easily contacted if your pet is found.
• Take plenty of clear photos of your pet (not hard for most animal lovers!). Remember to include any distinctive markings that could identify your pet.
• Don’t leave your dog unattended in the garden, the car or outside shops if at all possible.
• Review your social media security settings, and be careful with the details you share, especially when it comes to your pets, your location or your favourite walking spots.
• Pay attention to your surroundings and know where your dog is at all times when out walking. Be mindful of anyone trying to distract you or draw your dog’s attention away from you. If you feel that someone is following or watching you and your dog in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, call police.
• We know that some dogs may live in kennels outside. Please ensure you make it as hard as possible for some to break in. Use multiple locks and have CCTV cameras covering the kennel as a deterrent.
• Ensure all gates are locked at top and bottom with a shoot bolt and padlock.
• Ensure gardens and yards are secure so that no one can gain entry or pull your dog out. Make sure fences and hedges are secure, with no gaps that a dog can squeeze through.
• Consider driveway alarms and CCTV – these can act as a visual as well as a physical deterrent.
• If you are concerned for your safety or that of your dog, we recommend investing in a personal safety alarm. Please do not carry anything that can be used as a weapon.

If your dog is stolen, call police on 999 or report it to us via our website:

Notify your microchip database provider immediately and advise via their website or Facebook page. They will offer help, support and advice.