Pet abduction to be made specific offence as Bill passes reading

dog theft pet theft pet abduction

Picking up where the now defunct Kept Animals Bill left off, a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by Anna Firth MP aims to introduce a new criminal offence specifically for pet abduction.

Under the proposed Pet Abduction Bill, which is backed by the Government, individuals convicted of stealing a pet could face up to five years in prison, a fine, or both.The Bill has now passed its second reading, and will move on to Committee stage

Anna Firth commented, “Pets are not merely property like a smartphone or watch – they are part of the family. It is not right that the law does not distinguish this and I am delighted that my bill will redress this wrong.”

“It is a deeply traumatic experience for both the owner and the pet when they are stolen”

Evidence from the Pet Theft Taskforce has highlighted the urgency of tackling pet theft, revealing that approximately 2,000 dog thefts and over 400 cat thefts were reported to the police in 2020 alone. The proposed legislation aims to act as a deterrent against pet theft by introducing more robust legal measures.

Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said, “As a dog owner myself, I appreciate deeply what treasured members of the family dogs and cats are. It is a deeply traumatic experience for both the owner and the pet when they are stolen. This vital Bill will recognise the severity of this shocking crime and should act as a deterrent to anyone considering stealing a dog or cat. We will do all we can to support its swift passage through Parliament.”

Kept Animals Bill

Mark Beazley, Chief Executive at The Kennel Club, commented, “We wholeheartedly welcome this Bill, which would introduce a new and specific offence to tackle pet theft, and highly commend the hard and persistent work of every organisation who has been raising awareness of this issue and calling for action for many years.

“We hope that this Bill moves swiftly through parliament and helps to deliver justice for both the poor dogs and families victim to this devastating crime, and protect the nation’s much-loved pets.”


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