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    31 August 2021

    There are plans to create a new criminal office of pet abduction after a sharp increase during lockdown.  

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Dognapping Laws

31st August 2021

There are plans to create a new criminal office of pet abduction after a sharp increase during lockdown.

The Pet Theft Taskforce was launched in May to investigate the rise in dog thefts since lockdown began in March 2020. The report should be published in the coming weeks.

The proposal aims to acknowledge that pets should not fall under the category of “property”. The offence would carry grater penalties than theft and could mean up to 5 years in jail.

A government source has said: “Instead of making a tokenistic change to the law, we have been listening to charities, breeders and the police to get a better understanding of what we need to do to tackle this awful crime.

“Part of the package will be a new offence to better reflect the fact that for most people, pets are not just property and having one stolen is traumatic for both the owner and the pet.

“A purpose-made new offence will do this and mean those who steal pets will face tougher sentences than they do at the moment.”

Stealing a pet already comes under the Theft Act 1968 and under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Campaigners have argued that the Theft Act doesn’t properly reflect the trauma of losing an animal and that offences rarely result in a prison sentence.

Prevention

Police have issued guidance for dog owners to avoid becoming victims. They have advised that pets should not be left unattended in public, walkers should vary their routes and owners should take basic security steps such as checking locks on doors and garden gates.