Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.
1. Make pet theft crime a specific offence with custodial sentences.
03/03/2020 - Petitions
Found: Pet Theft Reform 2020: Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft
2. Written Evidence: Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation (AWSB13) (PDF)
24/07/2019 - Bill Documents
which aims to highlight the issue of dog meat consumption
Found: Pet Theft T
4. Reclassify the theft of a pet to a specific crime in its own right.
07/02/2018 - Petitions
Found: Review the sentencing guidelines for theft offences, so that where the theft of a family pet is involved
5. Court prosecutions, convictions and out of court disposals statistics for Northern Ireland, 2020
23/06/2021 - Department of Justice (Northern Ireland)
- View source
Found: Court Disposals Statistics for Northern Ireland, 2020 This spreadsheet contains the data tables published
1. Pet Theft
19/10/2020 - Westminster Hall
1: Written evidence to the Petitions Committee on pet theft, reported to the House on 16 June, 23 June and - Speech Link
2: considered e-petitions 244530 and 300071 relating to pet theft.It is an honour to serve under your chairmanship - Speech Link
2. Pet Theft
02/07/2018 - Westminster Hall
1: relating to pet theft.It is an honour to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Sharma. The pet theft petition - Speech Link
3. Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill (Seventeenth sitting)
22/06/2021 - Public Bill Committees
1: 74Proceeds of crime: account freezing orders‘(1) In section 303Z1 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (application - Speech Link
4. Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill
23/10/2020 - Commons Chamber
1: Pre-legislative Scrutiny of the draft Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill 2017, HC 709 - Speech Link
2: important Bill, inspired by the story of my own dog, a four-year-old springer spaniel who I named Poppy - Speech Link
3: in my speech.The Bill amends the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which currently sets out a maximum penalty - Speech Link
5. Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill
05/07/2021 - Commons Chamber
1: recent election campaign for our new police and crime commissioner, I have had the opportunity to speak - Speech Link
2: of your tools.”––[Official Report, Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Public Bill Committee, 8 June 2021; - Speech Link
3: Against the Person Act 1861, and relevant offences under the Infant Life (Preservation) Act 1929, will immediately - Speech Link
You may be interested in these active petitions
Under the Theft Act, animal companions are legally regarded as inanimate objects when stolen. Stolen pets come under theft offences such as burglary or theft from a person. Sentencing is dependent on the monetary value of the stolen animal (under or above £500), and the crime is treated as a category 3 (fine to 2 years in custody) or 4 offence (fine to 36 weeks in custody) in magistrates court.
Pet Theft Reform would make pet theft a category 2 offence with a starting point of 2 years custody.
Tuesday 31st March 2020
The sentencing guidelines now take account of the emotional distress and harm that theft of personal items such as a pet can have on the victim and recommends higher penalties for such offences.
The Government is sympathetic to the emotional trauma which the theft of a much-loved pet can cause. All reported crimes should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. The theft of a pet is already a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968 and the maximum penalty is seven years’ imprisonment and so there is no need to introduce a separate offence.
Sentencing is entirely a matter for our independent courts and must take into account the circumstances of each case. When deciding on an appropriate sentence, the courts consider any aggravating and mitigating factors, in line with sentencing guidelines issued by the Sentencing Council. In February 2016 the Sentencing Council updated its guidelines in relation to sentencing for theft offences. The guidelines take account of the emotional distress, and therefore harm, that theft of personal items such as a pet can have on the victim, and accordingly recommends higher penalties for such offences.
Since 6 April 2016, all dogs in England and Wales must be microchipped and registered on an approved database by the time they are eight weeks’ old. Since we made microchipping compulsory, the number of dogs microchipped has gone up from around 58% of all dogs in 2013 to over 90% of all dogs. This means that about 8.5 million dogs in the United Kingdom are microchipped. We also advise cat owners to get their cat microchipped and it was a manifesto commitment to introduce compulsory microchipping for cats. As part of this commitment we recently completed a Call for Evidence on cat microchipping which attracted over 3,000 responses. We are in the process of analysing the responses and will publish a summary of the responses together with a way forward in due course.
Owners should report the theft of their dog or cat to the database on which the animal’s microchip is registered, along with the corresponding crime reference number. There is a much better chance that animals will be returned to their owners if they are microchipped and their records kept up to date. Owners can take certain precautions to deter the theft of their dog, such as never letting their pet out of sight when it is being exercised; varying their routines when walking their dogs and not leaving their dog unattended when in public.
Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs