Dog owners have been warned to be vigilant after Cumbria was identified as one of the UK’s dog theft hotspots.
Figures obtained by NationalWorld found the county had the fifth highest number of thefts per one million population.
Earlier this year four female border collies, valued at £13,500, were stolen in a raid at Brough, near Kirkby Stephen.
In a separate incident a foxhound puppy was stolen from an outdoor kennel in Orton, near Penrith.
The price of puppies has doubled during the pandemic as demand has soared, prompting fears that the high prices could encourage puppy farming, smuggling or dog theft.
In January, Cumbria police responded to social media claims that people in the Eden area were being pushed over in the street and their dogs taken to say they had only received one such report.
A police spokesman said this week: “We understand how upsetting it must be when a dog is taken and any report of a dog being taken is duly investigated by officers.
“In 2020, there were 32 reported crimes of dog thefts in the county, which equates to two or three crimes across the whole of Cumbria in any given month.
“Cumbria is the third largest county in England, with vast areas of farmland and farms who may have a number of working dogs. These statics include rural crimes as well as domestic pets.
“Those 32 reported crimes are also just the top-line number with no context to the crime. Included within those 32 reported thefts could be a multitude of situations including ownership disputes or dogs escaping.
“We would advise dog owners to take steps to prevent this happening by not leaving your dogs unattended for any period of time.”
The dog theft hotspot report by NationalWorld was obtained after submitting a series of Freedom of Information requests.
Cumbria was fifth behind Cleveland, Durham, Northumbria and Gwent.
- Have you been the victim of a dog theft or attempted theft? If you have contact reporter Oliver Tallis at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01768 861216.