Animal protection has become a hot top today as the cases of pet theft are increasing every day. As a result, the UK government is planning to bring a law to justify pet theft as a criminal offense.
According to the Government’s Pet Theft Task Force, pet abduction is a new criminal offense. And it would carry a maximum sentence of up to five years.
Currently, the government legally classifies pets as property under the Theft Act. Moreover, it treats dognapping as a similar issue to a stolen bike or phone.
Pets are Not ‘Just Property’
As per the announcement made by the government, pets are not just property and they too have emotions. Therefore, to safeguard dogs and other pets, the Pet Theft Task Force in the UK has decided to implement this law.
People who campaign for pet protection say the act of pet theft is not counted as a criminal offense. However, over the last year, the cases of pet theft have seen an enormous boost.
Due to this, the government has presented the law to highlight the emotional pain of losing a beloved pet. More than half a million have signed the petition to change the previous law.
A government source has reflected that they are taking inputs from charities, breeders, and the police to take better actions to tackle this pet crime. The purpose of introducing the new criminal law is to show that both the owner and the pet feel unbearable pain.
Increase in Pet Theft Cases
According to the Press Association, the rate of dog thefts has seen an increase of 11 percent in 2020-21 from the previous year. The UK government noticed a hike in 179 dog theft cases across England and Wales.
Last year, MPs and the public asked the government to make pet theft a crime. But it didn’t entertain the request. During the lockdown period, organized crime groups carried out pet thefts on a large scale as more people opted for pets while they stayed at home.
Owing to this, people reacted sharply about the pet theft issue and it made the government work for bringing a law. Some people consider pet theft as a petty crime, but it is not actually the case. The Pet Theft Task Force is busy finalizing its report about to get published in the coming weeks.