In September 2014, Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (SAMPA) was launched at Westminster, we were delighted that both Neil Parish MP, Chairman of APGAW and Angela Smith MP, shadow Defra minister were present, together with our great champion of dog welfare, Marc Abraham, PupAid.
Both MPs agreed that there was a definite need to change the sentencing of pet theft and both agreed to support SAMPA’s submission to the Sentencing Council on a cross party platform by writing to the Council endorsing the need to reclassify pet theft and to have a custodial sentence.
Today is another positive step forward in our campaign to get better penalties to deter pet theft and also help reunite missing microchipped pets with their families.
Our campaign for this and the compulsory scanning and checking of microchips starts today.
Main picture left to right: Arnot Wilson, Dog Union; Marc the Vet, Pup Aid; Angela Smith MP, shadow Defra Minister, Neil Parish I MP, Chairman Associate Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare; Debbie Matthews and Gizmo (reunited stolen dog), Vets Get Scanning; Nik Oakley, Doglost; Richard Jordan, Pet Theft Awareness.
Dog Theft has increased by 24% over the last three years and no-one is safe from this crime which hits families, the elderly, the disabled and the homeless.
The loss of a companion and family member is devastating
Yet it is rarely investigated despite increasingly being part of organised crime
Police figures are the tip of the iceberg and they will never include ‘Theft by Finding’
In reality more that 60 dogs are snatched every week in England and Wales.
Dogs are stolen from, gardens, houses, parks, kennels, outside shops and cars. Nowhere is safe.
They can be any breed, but designer toy breeds and gun dogs are particular targets.
Thieves even take litters of puppies.
Rewards for return can be demanded but most dogs are sold on or used for breeding.
It is law to microchip all dogs but a microchip is not proof of ownership and there is no law to make it compulsory to scan and check that dog and owner match, leaving huge loopholes preventing the reunification of stolen and missing pets.
Sadly dogs are regarded as just goods and chattels and not a family member.
Any punishment is based on their monetary value alone.
The heartbreak and distress isn’t considered.
We need the Justice Department and the Sentencing Council to recognise the problem, and provide a real deterrent to dog thieves and their heartless crime.
DogLost Award-winning DogLost is the country’s premier pet reunification service. Its automated alerts and poster generation is supported by a network of volunteers who offer advice and support on the ground as well as the website. It works closely with the police, dog wardens and rescues and it is at the forefront of fighting back against the rising crime of dog theft. The service is entirely free to owners and it helped more than 12,000 last year.
Pet Theft Awareness This is our chance to highlight to a wider audience the misery that thieves are causing by stealing pets and horses. We have three main aims: Prevention, guidance to victims, and to campaign for tougher laws. If you own a pet the chances are that someone else will want it! Some will be irreplaceable pets and many will be highly trained and valuable working dogs.
Vets Get Scanning When Sir Bruce Forsyth’s daughter’s microchipped dogs were stolen in May’06, the family found out how the microchip system in place was letting responsible pet owners down. They have been campaigning to get compulsory microchip scanning by vets, rescues, dog wardens and other authorities dealing with deceased pets. You only find out how microchipping does not work when your pet goes missing!