In the last few years, we have seen a huge increase in pet abduction in the UK as pet ownership rocketed during the Covid-19 lockdowns. The UK government has drawn up a new offence called ‘’pet abduction’’ that will aim to tackle the rise of pet abduction.
Currently, pet theft is treated as a loss of property under the Theft Act, and unfortunately, the law fails to acknowledge the emotional distress caused by this offence, something that has been well overdue to be updated for years.
The new offence is one of several recommendations in a report published by the Government’s Pet Theft Taskforce, including tracking cases of lost and stolen pets, improving the recording of ownership details, implementing microchip databases, and raising awareness about prevention measures.
The report by the Government’s Pet Theft Taskforce found that seven out of ten pet abductions are dogs, with 2,000 reported dog theft cases in 2020 alone. Research shows a 170% increase in reported pet thefts between 2019 and 2020.
The RSPCA chief executive, Chris Sherwood, said: “Pet theft can leave families in utter turmoil and have serious welfare implications for animals ripped away from everything they know.”
Under the new legislation, pet thieves will face tougher penalties. The legislation will prioritise the welfare of pets as sentient beings and will also recognise the huge distress that pet abductions cause to the animal and its owner.
More details are being considered and are yet to be confirmed but overall, these suggestions will be a huge help in tackling pet theft.
A few preventions you can take to protect your dog are to avoid sharing too much information about it online, avoid leaving your dog unattended and change up your walking routes.