PET OWNERS are being warned by an animal charity that the chances of their furry friends being stolen have increased.
The Blue Cross released figures which show pet thefts are up 40 per cent compared to 2012.
Neil Edwards, the Bromsgrove Blue Cross centre manager, said: “Sadly we take in many pets who have been handed in as a stray but they may have actually been much-loved pets who were stolen or became lost.
“We can’t emphasise enough the importance of microchipping and keeping contact details up-to-date so that rescue centres can reunite you with a missing pet.
“We also urge owners to check out our advice to protect their pet from being at risk of theft.”
The charity is now urging for harsher sentences on those caught taking animals from their owners as there now seems to be a pattern of homes being deliberately targeted based on the pets inside.
Becky Thwaites, Blue Cross’ public affairs officer, said having pets stolen were absolutely devastating for owners, adding the Government needed to do more to this increasing problem.
“Penalties need to be tougher for those committing these crimes to act as deterrent to others.
“We also believe police forces need to ensure they deal with these cases in a sensitive manner and highlight where owners can go for further support.”