Pet Abduction Bill one step closer to becoming law as it moves to House of Lords

dog theft pet theft pet abduction

Almost three years since the government’s taskforce on pet theft recommended making pet abduction an offence of its own – rather than leaving it as a mere matter of property theft, much like the theft of a mobile phone – the Pet Abduction Bill has passed its third reading in the House of Commons, and is heading for the House of Lords.

The road to this point has not been straightforward. Pet abduction seemed on the cusp of becoming law in 2023, as part of the ambitious Kept Animals Bills. However, the Bill was dropped before it could receive its third reading in the House of Commons.

The Pet Abduction Bill was introduced by Anna Firth MP, and it has now cleared the hurdle that the Kept Animals Bill never got to, moving on to the House of Lords. If the bill does become law, individuals convicted of stealing a pet could face up to five years in prison, a fine, or both.

“The Bill is important because it removes pets from being in the same legal category as inanimate objects that have been stolen, and creates the specific offence of dog and cat abduction,” Anna Firth says. “It recognises that dogs and cats are sentient beings capable of experiencing distress and other emotional trauma if they are stolen from their owners or keepers.”

She adds, “I was inspired to bring this Private Members Bill after becoming aware of a number of incidents in my constituency and learning that pet thefts have increased across the country with figures suggesting that at least 2,290 dogs were stolen last year, a 6% increase on 2022. Just one in six (16%) were found and returned successfully, the lowest level since insurer Direct Line started tracking the data in 2015.”

“Security specialists ADT run a yearly Pet Theft Report which shows that dogs are the most frequently stolen pets at the top of the list, with a staggering 4,403 theft cases between 2019 and 2023.”

The post Pet Abduction Bill one step closer to becoming law as it moves to House of Lords appeared first on Dogs Today Magazine.