Well, this has been going on for years, predominantly gun dogs, lurchers and terriers. 11 years ago now my terrier was on a path 20 yards or so in front of me and just vanished off the face of the earth after going round a slight bend.
I think the most scary thing now is that dogs are snatched from their owners whilst on a lead or their owners are subjected to physical abuse in order to steal the dog. Also, I would imagine this is largely dependent on where you are walking - I assume these people would target high density dog walking areas rather than sitting for hours in a country lane hoping a dog walker will be using an overgrown footpath.
This is so rare though and I have not read of it happening for a few weeks and I do think dog prices are coming down very gradually.
So Splashgirl, please don't dwell too much on it and try and enjoy your walks🙂