This week (2nd July) MPs gathered to debate the legislation around pet theft in England and Wales, as well the penalties given out by the courts to those prosecuted for this crime. Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, is disappointed that for now little has changed to protect our four legged friends; in the eyes of the law, and within the court system, punishment for dog theft is treated as seriously as the theft of a mobile phone.
Lee Paris, Dogs Trust Senior Campaigns Officer comments,
“We are pleased the topic of dog theft has been discussed in Parliament. It is a step in the right direction, but there is significantly more action needed for our four legged friends to be viewed by the law as the family members they are, instead of merely a possession. We know that dogs truly are a part of their owners’ families, and it can be incredibly traumatic when a dog is stolen. Currently, the penalty for dog theft is based on the monetary value of the dog as a possession, with little to reflect the emotional anguish a family experiences when their dog is stolen.
Dogs Trust would like the Sentencing Council to toughen its sentencing guidelines so that all cases of companion animal theft are considered a category 2 offence. This would mean those prosecuted would be more likely to receive a custodial sentence.”