AROUND 2,000 dogs were reported stolen last year according to figures released by animal charity Dogs Trust.

In Merseyside, 49 dogs were snatched with bulldogs and terriers making up almost half of the pets stolen.

Now, Dogs Trust Merseyside has launched a campaign called Family Pawtraits to help stop this from happening.

Dogs Trust Merseyside manager Georgina Lowery told the Globe: “Unsecured gardens or homes can be an easy target for thieves.

"As the days get warmer and people start to socialise in their gardens, we couldn’t think of a better time to remind dog owners to check the access points to their home and garden – this includes looking for gaps in your fence and other property boundaries to keep your dog in and intruders out.

“We have a wealth of advice on our website about dog safety to help you keep your dog ‘safe, spottable and searchable’.

"Dogs can be a target for thieves looking to make money from breeding, so as well as keeping their microchip details up to date, spaying or neutering your dog could decrease their desire to wander and will also make them less desirable to thieves looking to breed from them.”

The top five dog breeds commonly stolen include: Staffordshire bull terriers; chihuahuas; French bulldogs; jack russells; pugs.

Supporting Family Pawtraits is Yale UK who are also offering advice on how to secure your home.

Stephen Roberts, marketing manager at Yale UK said: "Back gardens are commonly targeted by burglars so it’s essential to ensure gates and any access areas are locked and ideally monitored remotely.

"This helps to keep your garden secure, along with your beloved pets.

"Dogs are a member of the family, so it’s just as important to look after them, as it is to protect the house.

“There are a number of actions which can be taken to help ensure your dog is kept safe; keep all garden gates locked securely using a padlock and hasp, this along with smart alarms and cameras can work as an excellent deterrent.

"It’s important to ensure all fences surrounding your garden are secure and tall, making access for intruders more difficult.

“Additionally, indoor smart security cameras make it simple for dog owners to keep an eye on pets whilst away from home via the smartphone app.”

Yale will be joining Dogs Trust at their Fun Days around the UK to meet dog owners and offer tips on extra security measures.