Reclassify the theft of a pet to a specific crime in its own right.

More than 60 dogs are stolen every week in England and Wales. Less than 5% of cases lead to convictions.

Pet theft is currently seen as no different to the theft of an inanimate object - despite pets being sentient beings. The theft of pets is generally categorised as robbery or burglary, but lead to minimal sentences. Enforcement of existing laws do not currently act as a deterrent or fit the crime itself.

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Government Response

We understand the distress caused by the theft of a much loved family pet and laws are in place to deal firmly with offenders who commit such crimes.

Theft of a pet is already a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968. The maximum penalty is 7 years’ imprisonment. The Sentencing Council updated its guidelines in relation to sentencing for theft offences in February 2016. The guidelines take account of the emotional distress and therefore harm that theft of personal items such as a pet can have on the victim and accordingly recommends higher penalties for such offences. Compulsory microchipping introduced in 2016 makes it easier for lost or stolen dogs to be reunited with their owners.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

MPs spoken contributions during 2 Jul 2018 petition debate

Conservative George Eustice (View contribution) 2034 words Gareth Johnson (View contribution) 1577 words Giles Watling (View contribution) 1493 words Ross Thomson 1163 words
Independent Fiona Onasanya 265 words
Scottish National Party Lisa Cameron (View contribution) 1424 words