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Dog Theft Campaign

Project summary

The Sentencing Council (England and Wales) currently considers dogs to be "property". This means that if someone steals a dog, they may be punished in the same wat as someone who steals a non-living object, like a mobile phone or a piece of furniture.

This project aimed to gather evidence in order to argue that losing a dog is very different to losing a non-living object, and that many people consider their dog to be a friend or a family member, not just a "possession".

The review concluded that people who steal dogs should be punished in a way that reflects the emotional harm that can be caused to victims of dog theft.


A review paper describing evidence supporting Dogs Trust’s submission to the Sentencing Council regarding increased sentencing terms for dog theft. The paper was published in Animals journal in May 2018.

Dog Theft: A Case for Tougher Sentencing Legislation DOG THEFT- A CASE FOR TOUGHER SENTENCING LEGISLATION (2018).PDF 6.74 MB