Back my campaign to stamp out pet thefts across Thames Valley
Pet theft is not treated with the seriousness it deserves and reform is urgently needed.
During the pandemic, dog ownership and prices have risen significantly - pet theft is now the worst it has ever been, rising in some areas by 250%.
Tragically, just 1 in 5 pets are ever returned to their owner.
Only about 1% of pet thefts lead to charges.
As a dog owner myself I know how pets really are part of your family and how devastating it would be if he was stolen.
Because punishments are often related to the monetary value of a pet, they usually result in trivial fines rather than imprisonment.
Although the Theft Act of 1968 allows a maximum penalty of up to 7 years, this never seems to happen. The majority of prison sentences awarded are less than six months. Whilst the legislation exists to deal with the crime itself we need new sentencing guidelines to ensure that those responsible are properly punished!
Organised crime gangs often see pet theft as low risk and high reward - this must STOP!
We all have a role to play. Not only by ensuring our animals our microchipped, but also ensuring that we only ever buy animals from registered breeders.
A Dog Trust survey found that 99% of respondents considered their pets to be a family member. Any dog owner knows the real and intense pain felt when their pet is injured, dies or is stolen.
The Government has already increased sentences for people who mistreat animals, and tackled puppy farming.
It has also recognised Finn’s Law, which ensures that police dogs are now viewed as the living, breathing, sentient beings they are, leading to more severe punishment for their attackers. Three recent national petitions have been run before on pet theft, and debate twice conducted in Parliament, so it is clear the public are keen to see urgent action.
The Home Secretary has spoken out on this issue
Please back My Plan to reduce dog thefts, ensure proper prison sentences and reunite more pets with their families:
- We need better data from police forces across the country so that pet thefts are properly recorded and we can establish the true scale of the problem.
- More police resources should be deployed to catch the organised gangs targeting our pets, and the 20,000 national uplift in police officers and some of which are going to the Regional Organised Crime Units will help to do this.
- The importance of this crime and its links to organised gangs should be recognised by our Regional Organised Crime Units.
- We need to improve public awareness of how to reduce their pet’s vulnerability to criminals, and to prevent others from buying stolen animals and fuelling this terrible trade.
- Working with local MPs and the Home Office, I will seek a change in sentencing guidelines to ensure our judicial system recognises the emotional and social value of our pets, so that tougher sentences can be applied in our courts.