Hundreds of dogs have been stolen in Greater Manchester over a five-year period, figures show.
Greater Manchester Police recorded 679 dog thefts between 2015 and 2019, according to a Freedom of Information request from Direct Line Pet Insurance (with more recent stats not yet available.)
Madeline Pike, veterinary nurse for Direct Line Pet Insurance, said: “It’s devastating to see the number of dogs stolen continue to increase across the country.
"Unfortunately, the increase in dog ownership since the pandemic began and the subsequent rise in prices of these animals seems to make the crime even more appealing to thieves."
To help keep your pets safe, experts advice not posting where you live on social media photos, not putting your dog’s name on its collar tag, and to consider investing in a GPS collar.
At home, dogs can easily be taken from gardens so protect your property with tall fences, lock any gates and consider using video doorbells or security cameras.
Direct Line Pet Insurance said bulldogs and French bulldogs, which can cost £1,000-£3,000 per puppy, were the most stolen breeds in 2021, followed by these breeds.