Stealing a pet is so much more than taking someone's posession
Man (and woman)’s best friend has really earned his name over the last very difficult 12 months.
Our pets have provided us with love, comfort, solace and – in some cases – company, at at time when we’ve never needed those things more.
With more of us at home, perhaps it’s not surprising that more people have decided to get pets over the last year.
That in turn has seen the price of puppies sky-rocket to eye-watering levels.
And whenever something becomes very valuable, it becomes a target for thieves.
With that combination of factors, it’s perhaps no surprise that there has been a surge in reports of dogs being stolen.
It is estimated that thefts have risen by 250 percent - with criminal gangs involved.
And perhaps it’s equally unsurprising that some people have taken to arming themselves to fight off would-be thieves when they take their pets out for a walk.
Quite rightly, this is something the police are strongly advising against.
But you only have to read the heartbreaking comments from Chesterfield’s Phil Littlewood, whose seven-year-old pooch Lucky was stolen, to understand why owners are considering desperate measures.
He said: “He was my best friend - he never left my side.
"This is happening to so many people and for a lot of them it’s like losing a child.”
Pets are only viewed as ‘possessions’ when it comes to the law, but they are clearly part of people’s families, you can completely understand the sense of bereavement that Phil talks about.
Worrying there have also been reports this week of markings being left outside properties where dogs live.
Police confirmed random markings are one of the methods thieves use as a ‘indicator’ that a dog is present in the home.
We’ve had a number of dogs in our household and have taken on another recently.
Like all puppies, the new arrival has not come without some teething issues – in the case of some bits of the house, quite literally.
But it’s now almost impossible to imagine life without him and I can only image the anguish it would cause to the kids if he were ever stolen.
A dog really is for life.