Today the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance (Sampa) delivered the Pet Theft Petition to 10 Downing Street. Video links below.
The petition to ‘Reclassify the theft of a pet to a specific crime in its own right’ gained 107,353 signatures and was debated in Parliament on 2 July 2018. Despite cross-party support, the Rt Hon George Eustice MP concluded the government was “not convinced for change.”
Sampa legal advisor, Professor John Cooper QC, explained: “The law is simply not geared up to recognise the importance of pets in the nations life. They are treated like property, and the invaluable contribution they make to millions of peoples lives both practically and emotionally really needs to be acknowledged through a harsher sentencing regime.”
During the Pet Theft Debate, the Rt Hon George Eustice MP stressed: “that the Government interpret the latest guidance from the Sentencing Council that the theft of a pet should generally be treated as a category two or three offence.” At present, pet theft is generally treated as a category three or four offence in magistrates courts.
Debbie Matthews of Vets Get Scanning added: “The government interpretation is positive, but that is not happening in the courts. We continue to ask for clarification within the Theft Act and wonder why a simple amendment in the Sentencing Guidelines is not forthcoming. Pet Theft Reform is needed to help protect our pets.”
Jayne Hayes, founder of DogLost, maintained: “It is momentous achievement to be able to knock on the door of 10 Downing Street and raise awareness about pet theft, but we need more. In the past 12 years, we have assisted more than 70,000 owners and helped reunite nearly 55,000 dogs. Very few pet thieves went to prison.”
Richard Jordan of Pet Theft Awareness stated: “Dogs, cats, horses and other animals are an important part of family life. Victims of pet theft will never stop searching. We’ll never stop helping.”
The Rt Hon Ross Thomson MP introduced the Pets (Theft) Bill in July 2018 – the second reading is scheduled on Friday 26 October 2018. Mr Thomson stated: “As things stand, the law does not recognise a pet as being any different to any other inanimate possession. But a pet is not something that you can simply replace. That’s why I want to see the law tightened up to make pet theft a serious, criminal and punishable offence that recognises the status and importance of our pets.”
Dr Daniel Allen, who started the petition, concluded, “Five dogs are reported stolen in England and Wales every day, yet less than 5% of dog theft cases lead to a custodial sentence. Criminals see pet theft as a low-risk high-reward crime. Pet Theft Reform is the only way to change this.”
#PetTheftReform Big day today, presenting the #PetTheftPetition to #10DowningStreet. Teamwork is so important and we have some wonderful campaigners all working together on your behalf.
Video from today with, from left to right, Richard Jordan, Pet Theft Awareness, Dr Daniel Allen, petitioner, Animal Geographer at Keele University and Sampa Patron, Ross Thomson MP, Pet Theft Bill hearing 26th October ‘18, Professor John Cooper QC, legal legend and Sampa Legal Advisor, Gareth Johnson MP, Dog Theft Awareness Day and Jayne Hayes, founder of Doglost. Camera woman, Debbie Matthews, Vets Get Scanning.
WATCH VIDEO 1:- https://youtu.be/bz2v0NYWIE8
Legal legend and SAMPA legal adviser Professor John Cooper QC explaining to Ross Thomson MP what we want the Government to do for #PetTheftReform to #ProtectOurPets.
There was confusion after the Pet Theft Debate in July 2018, when Minister George Eustice Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), stated “It is the Government’s interpretation that Pet Theft is a category 2 or 3 offence”. The government interpretation is positive, but that is not happening in the courts. We continue to ask for clarification within the Theft Act and wonder why a simple amendment in the Sentencing Guidelines is not forthcoming. Pet Theft Reform is needed to help protect our pets.
You can help by writing or emailing your MP.
WATCH VIDEO 2:- https://youtu.be/EdaIEn9Hwyw