Incidents of dog theft in Lincolnshire have halved in the last year, new figures show, although people remain concerned about their pets, according to a survey.
Lincolnshire Police’s latest analysis shows that recorded dog thefts in the county have dropped by 50% in the last financial year.
In 2019/2020, there were 12 recorded dog thefts in Lincolnshire, and there were just six in 2020/2021, up to March 23.
However, in a survey by Lincolnshire Police & Crime Commissioner Marc Jones, which gained 15,000 responses in the East Midlands region, 22% of people said they have had a dog stolen or know someone who has in the last year.
Of those 22%, 83% said they have grown more fearful of taking their dog for a walk at night.
Lincolnshire Police is currently working with DogLost, a voluntary organisation that helps track down missing dogs across the country.
Officers have said that while these cases are rare in the county, residents must still be vigilant with their pets.
Chief Superintendent Paul Timmins said: “We understand the devastation a stolen dog can cause. Many of us at Lincolnshire Police are dog owners ourselves.
“Whilst it is a rare occurrence, it does happen. If it’s something that concerns you, please contact your local policing team who can provide security advice and reassurance.
“We will investigate and act on information received in order to return dogs to their owners and bring those responsible to justice.”
Lincolnshire Police & Crime Commissioner Marc Jones said that police forces currently do not record specific pet thefts, making it more difficult to understand the extent of the crime.
He said: “I will be speaking with Lincolnshire Police about what can be done to better record information to aid preventative measures and police operations.
“I know that locally some dogs have been recovered by the force which is great but the public need to feel more reassured.
“Pets are part of people’s family and the devastating emotional impact of this crime should no longer be overlooked.
“I have already spoken directly to the Home Secretary about the issue and will continue to urge her to consider the introduction of tougher measures to prevent pet thefts and increase sentences for offenders.”