Reclassify the theft of a pet to a specific crime in its own right.
Review the sentencing guidelines for theft offences, so that where the theft of a family pet is involved, monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of the crime for sentencing purposes.
Ensure Police Forces are given appropriate guidance and training to record and investigate cases.
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.
For more information, please see: http://www.stolenandmissingpetsalliance.co.uk/
Government responseWe 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
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Currently ranked 889 out of 1,784 open petitions, and 23,345 out of 100,301 petitions ever created.
Dr Daniel Allen
Thursday 8 February 2018
Wednesday 8 August 2018