Puppy thieves have warned dog owners to keep a close eye on their dogs and not let them run ahead.
Puppy theft gangs can make huge profits on pets they have lured away from their owners before breeding or re-hoeing and reselling them.
Demand for puppies during lockdown has driven prices astronomically, sometimes by as much as 450 percent.
In a new short documentary from Vice, a north London based gang said they would do anything to catch a dog, including taking it from its owner – especially if they know there is a litter in a house.
The gang also acts where the opportunity presents itself, even when it is done in public.
Photo credit: Vice
One gang member told the interviewer, “We take dogs wherever we find them, whether it’s actually going inside or whatever to get them, whether it’s a dog in the park that we can lure away quickly.
“My guy over there, Jack, Jack is the guy who’ll get you any dog you need. He basically knows how to control dogs. “
He explained that they primarily target puppies as their customers often “don’t want a full-grown dog”.
He gave dog owners a chilling warning and continued, “You must keep an eye on your dog at all times.
“Don’t just let your dog run in front of you and run around the corner in front of you, because if that happens we could be there.”
When asked what he would say to someone who had their dog stolen, he added, “I would say get yourself a new dog.”
Meanwhile, a thief told another gang that a French bulldog can be bought for as little as £ 250 ($ 350) in Romania, where puppy farms are common.
They could then sell it in the UK for up to £ 5,000 (US $ 7,000) by simply cutting out the microchip and replacing it and admitting it causes harm to the animals.
When Vice reporter Livvy Haydock asked if they would call for chips to be removed for animal cruelty, one of the gang members replied, “Call it what you want. It’s bread on the table.”
Another dog thief, referred to as Jamie in the film, said he has a variety of dogs, all of which are equipped with electroshock collars to control them.
Photo credit: Vice
He stole his own dog, a pug, from someone else.
He admitted that he was tied to the dog and said it was his ‘main responsibility’ but added, “Times are tough, I have a conscience, but I do this for money and I don’t really think I am it’s a shame for everyone. “