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Dognappers might resist 5 years in jail after rise in pet thefts | UK Information

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A brand new prison offence to sort out dognapping and “crack down on the heart-breaking difficulty of pet theft” has moved a step nearer.

Beneath authorities plans, individuals who steal a canine companion might resist 5 years in jail if convicted of canine abduction.

The offence is being added to the Kept Animals Bill, which is presently making its manner by way of the Commons, after a advice by the federal government’s pet theft taskforce in September.

The taskforce, launched in Might, appeared right into a reported rise in pet thefts in the course of the pandemic. Greater than 2,000 such incidents had been reported to the police in 2020.

Dognapping stays the largest difficulty, with round seven in 10 incidents of pet theft recorded by police involving dogs, in accordance with the Division for Setting, Meals and Rural Affairs (Defra).

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The transfer has been welcomed by leaders from animal rights organisations.

Setting Secretary George Eustice stated the brand new offence will ‘ship justice for victims’

Chief veterinary officer Dr Christine Middlemiss stated it’s “an vital step ahead” with canine being handled “as sentient beings fairly than merely property”.

David Bowles, head of public affairs on the RSPCA, stated that he hopes the offence will “act as an actual deterrent to those that perform this crime”.

He added: “Whereas the present proposed legislation applies to canine, we’re actually happy to see the federal government has additionally recognised how a lot different animals imply to folks as nicely, and put in provision to increase it to different pets.

“We hope this new legislation, which is able to see sentences as much as 5 years, will assist crack down on the heart-breaking difficulty of pet theft.”

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The brand new offence will take into account the emotional misery prompted to each the proprietor and the canine and assist allow judges to offer extra focused penalties and sentences for pet thieves, Defra stated.

It added {that a} provision can even be made within the Invoice to increase the offence to different pets sooner or later if proof helps that.

Campaigners and MPs have been pushing for tougher penalties, stating that the present legislation doesn’t replicate the emotional trauma of shedding an animal.

In June, parliament debated proposals to make it easier to find stolen pets after greater than half one million folks signed a petition calling for a particular canine theft offence.

Setting Secretary George Eustice stated: “The lack of a much-loved pet causes distinctive misery. I’m happy that we’re legislating to recognise this particular crime.

“The brand new canine abduction offence will replicate the influence on animals in penalties for criminals, and ship justice for victims.”

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