DRUG dealers are turning to dog theft after the price of puppies rose during national bans.
And in a terrifying new documentary, a Dognapper reveals how his gang takes animals “wherever we can find them.”
Drug dealers are turning to dog theft after the price of puppies rose during national lockdownsPhoto credit: VICE
Dog theft has increased 170 percent over the past year as criminals capitalize on our growing pet demandPhoto credit: VICE
Low-risk but lucrative dog theft has increased 170 percent over the past year as criminals capitalize on our growing pet demand, according to charity DogLost.
Now a gang leader has spoken on camera about their tactics, including brazen daylight break-ins and luring puppies out of parks.
He said, “We take dogs with us wherever we can find them. It doesn’t matter whether we actually go into a house to fetch it, whether it’s a dog in the park that we can lure away quickly, however we can get it, we get it. “
He appears with a disguised face and his voice and tells how he started his “own little team” after noticing the request for bans on dogs.
Puppy prices have quadrupled and it is estimated that eight million new dogs are needed each year to meet demand in Europe, while only 1.1 million are produced by official breeders.
One gang member says they feel little remorse for stealing loved pets.
He admits: “For me the dogs are just money. You have to take out the attachment. “
“YOU ONLY WANT THE DOG”
The gang usually finds breeders with a new litter before “exploring the place”.
One gang member says, “We mainly target litters because we often don’t want adult dogs, we want puppies.”
Sometimes they steal an adult dog that they believe might be good for breeding and keep the creature as an “investment.”
They post ads with pictures of the puppies and insist that they “look pretty real” to a potential buyer.
And when it comes to selling the puppies, they add: “Nobody asks about the puppy’s family history. You just want the dog. “
The gang leader still sells drugs in rural areas.
He explains, “That’s what we call ‘OT’ – out of town.” But he admits that sometimes he thinks of the people he steals from.
“Somebody’s looking for all these dogs,” he says.
“It’s not a great feeling, but at the same time you’re doing it for the money. You can’t be proud of that. “
Lisa Lilley’s beloved Cocker Spaniels Biscuit and Missy were ripped from her yard on March 5thPhoto credit: VICE
While the maximum sentence is seven years in prison, according to the Kennel Club, the Kennel Club results in a criminal conviction of less than five percent of dog thefts – meaning the risk is low, although the result is high rewards for the gangs.
In the documentary The Puppy Black Market on Vice, the gang leader confirms: “This is an easier business than drugs right now. I don’t know anyone who went to jail for that. “
Simon and Lisa Lilley’s beloved cocker spaniels, Biscuit and Missy – two of five puppies they owned – were ripped from their yard on March 5th.
The Stafford couple, Staffs, say the thieves climbed over hedges and disabled security cameras, which was clearly a sophisticated operation.
Destroyed on the ground, Simon says: “Our life has changed since that night.
“Lisa sleeps down on the sofa so she can keep an eye out for the (three remaining) dogs.”
In tears, Lisa adds: “So that I can reach her now. I couldn’t reach her that night. “
When asked what she would say to the thieves, Lisa can barely speak, these are the emotions associated with her loss.
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Finally she says: “Please bring her back home. We don’t care how much money you had to pay for it, we will give you the money. Just bring them home. “
However, that cuts little ice with the gang leader.
His advice to worried dog owners: “Get a hamster or a cat!”
A gang leader spoke on camera about their tactics, including brazen daylight break-ins and luring pups out of parksPhoto credit: VICE
Less than five percent of dog thefts result in criminal convictions – so there is little risk, although the outcome is a high reward for the gangsPhoto credit: VICE