Thefts of dogs have reached record levels over the last year.
Latest figures from 31 police forces across England and Wales reveal an increase of 25 per cent in the crime.
The number of dogs stolen has gone from 1,500 to 1,882.
And, it’s thought the true figure could be even higher.
The rise has been fuelled by soaring puppy prices after pets were bought during lockdown.
Some popular breeds like Cockapoos were being sold for more than £2,500 each.
The data was obtained under a freedom of information (FOI) request by Dr Daniel Allen, co-founder of Pet Theft Reform.
Dr Allen said: “Dog theft offences in England and Wales continue to rise.
“From the 31 of 43 regional police forces in England and Wales who could supply comparable FOI data, there has been a 25 per cent increase in recorded dog theft offences from 2020 to 2021.
“This may be a combination of increased crimes and/or changes to policing practice.”
Wes Pearson, CEO of Animal Friends Insurance, called for the new law to include cats as police figures show that this too is on the increase.
He said: “The steps taken by the Government so far to help tackle the growing issue of dog theft are incredibly positive and we’re fully supportive of the proposed changes to make it a new criminal offence.
“However, we must continue to push for cats to be included.
“Cats play an equally important role as dogs in our families and lives, so why are they being excluded from the protections the new dog abduction offence would bring?
“Not only is the data showing an increase in dogs being stolen across the country, but cat abduction has also significantly increased
“We urge the Government to rethink the proposed changes and ensure that our feline family members are given the same securities.”