Dog owners are being urged to take pictures of their pooches’ distinguishing features after a spike in lockdown dognappings.
DogLost, the UK’s biggest canine rescue community, reported that the number of dogs being stolen has increased by 170% in the last year.
The charity provides an online database of missing and stolen dogs.
They told the Daily Record that 465 pooches were stolen across the UK in 2020 – just 172 thefts were reported in 2019.
Dog owners have been warned that thieves are on the hunt for pups to sell on.
Inspector Alan Dron, of the Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime partnership with NFU Mutual, said dognappings has a “massive emotional impact” on owners.
He told the Scottish Sun: “Microchip your dog, take clear photos of it from various angles, in particular any distinguishing features.”
Scottish SPCA suspects that dogs are being snatched for breeding purposes or they are sold on for profit.
The organisation’s chief superintendent Mike Flynn urged dog owners to keep a close eye on their pets when they are outdoors.
He told Glasgow Live: “We are always deeply concerned by reports of pets being stolen as it is extremely distressing for both the animals are their owners. There is also no way of known wether the pets will be cared for after they have been taken.
“In our experience animals tend to be stolen for breeding purposes or because they can be sold on for profit.
“It is very important that owners supervise their animals when they are outdoors and remain cautious.
“We also recommend that people microchip their pets as soon as possible so that should they go missing, there is a much greater chance of them being identified and returned to their owner.”