These are the nine most stolen dog breeds in Merseyside, including Bulldogs, Terriers and Husky

More than 1,700 dogs were reported stolen in the UK in 2022.

More than 200 dogs were reported stolen in Merseyside over the last five years, with 21 recorded in 2022, a Freedom of Information request from LiverpoolWorld has revealed.

This was down from 39 in 2021 and 42 in 2020, when figures spiked during the Covid-19 pandemic. However, Merseyside Police did not charge of send a court summons to any suspects regarding dog thefts in the last two years.

Fewer than 1% of dog thefts reported in the UK last year have so far resulted in criminal charges. The Kennel Club described the figure as “really disappointing” but police chiefs from forces across the country said it was often hard to identify suspects.

Government ministers had announced plans in 2021 to make dog abduction a specific offence punishable by up to five years in jail, through the Kept Animals Bill. But this hasn’t yet become law and campaigners say they fear the government will drop the idea.

A spokesperson for the RSPCA said: “The legislation has been in limbo for 500 days - and we’re increasingly worried these plans could be dropped altogether.”

National figures: More than 1,700 dogs were reported stolen last year to the 33 UK police forces which responded to our FOI requests, although with a quarter of forces failing to answer, the figure will likely be higher.

Of the crimes where police provided an investigation status, just 14 (0.9%) had so far resulted in someone being charged or sent a court summons.

However, the overall number of dog thefts across the UK fell by 15% last year, compared with the year before, our investigation found.

Dogs most at risk: Our FOI request also listed the most common breeds stolen by thieves in Merseyside over the past two years, which we have listed in the gallery below.

Related topics: