The RSPCA has urged dog owners to take extra precaution after research revealed 2,160 dogs were reported stolen in the UK in 2022 - the equivalent of six dogs each day.

The research from Direct Line Pet Insurance shows that American Bulldogs, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, and French Bulldogs were the most frequently stolen breeds.

An RSPCA spokesperson said: "Dog theft is devastating for owners as dogs are much-loved members of the family.

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"We urge anyone who believes their pooch has been taken to report the incident to police immediately."

The charity also urged all dog owners to take extra precautions to protect their pooches from thieves by neutering their pets, ensuring they are microchipped with contact details registered and making sure they wear a collar with contact details embroidered or an engraved ID tag.

RSPCA added: "We’d also advise that owners never leave their pets tied up outside shops or alone in cars, ensure their gardens are secure with gates locked, and make sure their pet has a good recall and doesn’t stray too far when off-lead on walks."

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The UK Government announced plans to make pet theft a specific offence under its Kept Animals Bill - offering more assurances to owners. However, the legislation has been in limbo for 500 days - and RSPCA is increasingly worried these plans could be dropped altogether.

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