NEARLY 2,000 dogs were stolen last year — but police charged just eight crooks.

Campaigners want a change in their legal classification as currently they are treated as property.

Debbie Matthews, of the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance, said: “You can get a new phone in 24 hours."

"But dogs are part of the family.”

The Sun obtained figures from 39 police forces.

Of 1,906 taken, the most were Staffies at 89, then chihuahuas (50) followed by celebs’ favourite the French Bulldog (48).

They can cost £2,500 but healthy pups with rare colourations can fetch £6,000.

Some criminals have been caught selling pets at markets.

The Dogs Trust said: “Sentences depend on a dog’s retail value."

"Less than £500 and the sentence is a lot lighter.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said the planned rise in officers will help the fight.

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