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Since 2018, Dr Daniel Allen has been spearheading collaborative research on the realities of pet theft in the UK.  

The aim of our research is to build an ‘evidence base’ around the issue, including: causes, prevention, reporting and recording, strategies of searching, challenges to reunification, policing and wider responses, victim support requirements, and implications on animal welfare.

This work has informed the Pet Theft Reform campaign, the Pet Theft Taskforce policy report, and continues to inform policy decision-making at a multi-organisational level in response to this crime.

Read more about the multidisciplinary research team here.


Academic work



Geographical trends in dog theft offences.

Allen, D., Peacock, A. and Arathoon, J., 2019. Spatialities of dog theft: A critical perspective. Animals, 9(5) 209 pp.1-18



What can we infer from the evidence so far?

Selby-Fell, H. and Allen, D. 2021. Dog Theft: What can we infer from the evidence so far? 24th  February 2021. Cited in Pet Theft Taskforce policy paper (2021). 



What does this mean when companion animals are stolen?

Allen, D. & Wyatt, T. (forthcoming). Non-human animals as property: what this means when companion animals are stolen. In Hunnicutt, G. Twine, R., & Mentor, K. (Eds.) Violence and Harm in the Animal Industrial Complex: Human-Animal Entanglements. Routledge, London.

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The emotional trauma and personal impact of pet theft.

Allen, D., Arathoon, J. and Selby‐Fell, H., 2022. Experiences of dog theft and spatial practices of search/ing. The Geographical Journal, 188(4), pp.518-533.



What are the challenges and benefits of making missing and stolen pets present  in virtual space?

Arathoon, J., Allen, D. and Hallatt, A., 2024. “Too hot to handle”: Making lost and stolen pets present in virtual space. Geoforum, 152, p.104013. 

Pet Theft Taskforce

Following the rise in demand for new pets during the pandemic, and with it the considerable increase in puppy and kitten prices, reports suggest that this may have led to the rise in pet thefts. 

Responding to public concern, in May 2021 the Pet Theft Taskforce was created to gather evidence to understand the factors that may be contributing to any perceived rise in thefts and to recommend any necessary measures to tackle the problem.

As the leading authority on data evidence for pet theft, Pet Theft Reform was invited to present evidence to the Taskforce, providing key insights into the nature and extent of this heartbreaking crime. 


In September 2021, the Taskforce published its recommendations on how to effectively tackle and prevent pet theft in England and Wales.

Read the full report here

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