Lewes MP supports stricter punishments for dog theft

A new criminal offence to crack down on dog theft has been supported by Maria Caulfield MP

Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 5:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th November 2021, 5:28 pm
Mrs Caufield (right) said: “A dog is not a simple possession but a member of the family and I am so glad this new offence will recognise the significant emotional distress caused by people having their dog stolen that goes so much further than having anything else stolen."

A new criminal offence to crack down on dog theft has been supported by Maria Caulfield MP.

The dog abduction offence will put people who steal these animals behind bars for up to five years.

The felony would be added by the Government to the Kept Animals Bill, bolstering the raft of measures it already includes to further protect pets, livestock and kept wild animals.

Mrs Caufield said: “A dog is not a simple possession but a member of the family and I am so glad this new offence will recognise the significant emotional distress caused by people having their dog stolen that goes so much further than having anything else stolen."

Prior to this new offence, pet theft was treated as a loss of property to the owner.

This new legislation will take into account the emotional distress caused to both the owner and the dog and will help judges’ ability to hand down more targeted penalties and sentences for pet thieves.

A provision will also be made in the Bill to extend the offence to other pets in the future, should evidence support this.

Environment Secretary George Eustice said “The loss of a much-loved pet causes unique distress. I am pleased that we are legislating to recognise this specific crime. The new dog abduction offence will reflect the impact on animals in penalties for criminals, and deliver justice for victims.”