Most dangerous places to own a pet in London - full list by borough

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LondonWorld breaks down, borough by borough, the number of pet thefts reported across the city.

The number of families hit by the "devastating crime" of pet theft across London are revealed in data from the Met Police.

Hounslow tops the list, with 94 reports of theft in the year from December 2022 to November 2023. This was more than four times higher than the London average.

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Brent is the second most dangerous place to own a pet, with 50 reports of animal abduction over the same period, while Islington came in third with 38 pet thefts reported.

The safest place from thieves for pets were Havering (seven thefts) and Richmond upon Thames (eight).

Dogs were the most-targeted pet, with 375 thefts reported, and Lambeth was the most dangerous borough for 'man’s best friend' with 26 thefts. Haringey came a close second (22), followed by Tower Hamlets (21).

Islington had the highest rate of cat thefts with 24 reported - almost five times higher than the city-wide average. Birds were the next most stolen pet with 115 reports, while mammals (excluding dogs and cats) and fish trailed behind.

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In 2021, a pet theft task force - comprising police, local authorities and government officials - proposed a law change that would create specific punishments for pet thefts. Under the existing Theft Act 1998 pets are classed as property. 

Many pet owners feel that likening a family pet to something like a bicycle is a major flaw in the system and does little to discourage would-be pet thieves.

Monica Deakin, owner of two-year-old corgi Luna, said: “Pets should be considered as part of one’s family, and sentencing for pet related theft should reflect that."

Pet theft can be a "devastating crime" for families.Pet theft can be a "devastating crime" for families.
Pet theft can be a "devastating crime" for families. | Arielle Goldstein

Pet thefts by London borough

This is the number of reported pet thefts in each London borough from December 2022 to November 2023.

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  • Barking and Dagenham 15
  • Barnet 23
  • Bexley 14
  • Brent 50
  • Bromley 29
  • Camden 17
  • Croyden 27
  • Ealing 18
  • Enfield 21
  • Greenwich 21
  • Hackney 15
  • Hammersmith and Fulham 12
  • Haringey 28
  • Harrow 11
  • Havering 7
  • Hillingdon 19
  • Hounslow 94
  • Islington 38
  • Kensington and Chelsea 12
  • Kingston upon Thames 9
  • Lambeth 29
  • Lewisham 18
  • Merton 22
  • Newham 17
  • Redbridge 18
  • Richmond upon Thames 8
  • Southwark 15
  • Sutton 27
  • Tower Hamlets 24
  • Waltham Forest 17
  • Wandsworth 9
  • Westminster 23

National Police Chiefs’ Council

A National Police Chiefs’ Council spokesperson said: “Pet theft can be a devastating crime for families and causes considerable distress to owners. We rely on the public providing us with information and would urge anyone who sees anything suspicious to report it to their local officers. Whilst these offences can be very difficult to investigate, police understand how upsetting they are and will robustly follow any lines of inquiry.

“Dog and cat owners can take reasonable security measures to prevent thefts like checking privacy settings on social media before sharing pictures of your pet online, as this can attract the attention of some criminals. The Blue Cross website has a wide range of advice on how to prevent theft of pets and steps to take if this happens.

“We also want to encourage those who are buying dogs or cats to really consider where the pet has come from and ensure that it is being purchased legally. Advice can be found online on the checks you should make before purchasing a new cat or dog."