Growing public support for tougher pet theft sentences

Iain Duncan Smith, MP for Chingford and Woodford Green

Iain Duncan Smith wants tougher sentences for pet thieves - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

2020 has been the worst ever year for dog thefts – tougher sentences are needed for pet theft.

Although this may not make national news, for many, many families what is happening to their dogs is heart-breaking. 2020 has seen an increase in dog thefts of 250 per cent in some areas.

More time at home and limitations on social contact has increased demand for dogs, with a 168pc rise in searches for puppies for sale. Sadly, criminals have capitalised on this, as the price of dogs skyrockets.

But dogs are worth far more than their monetary value. As a dog owner myself I know how vital dogs are as companions, therapists and exercise buddies – not to mention the skill of working canines such as sheep dogs and medical detection dogs. They are, for many people, part of the family.

There has been widespread and growing public support for tougher sentences for pet thieves. Pet theft is wrongly categorised as robbery or burglary – in the same category as the theft of an inanimate object – sadly, this then leads only to minimal sentences.

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A specific offence for pet theft is needed to deter criminals and to punish those guilty of the theft.

One example caught my attention recently in Woodford Green. Buster, a Romanian rescue dog, was forcibly taken from its owner while on a walk in December and the owner was assaulted.

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That’s why it’s vital the government now strengthen the law.

After all pets, such as Buster, are deeply loved and, when stolen, severely missed.

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