CAMPAIGNERS are calling for cat theft to be covered by law as new figures show it has increased by more than 40 per cent in 2021.
The new offence of ‘Pet Abduction,’ which has been recommended by the new Pet Theft Taskforce set up by the Government as a response to dramatic increased in the phenomenon during the pandemic, does not include cats.
Abducting dogs is already included under the offence, however campaign group Pet Theft Awareness believe that, in light of these statistics from 38 constabularies, cat theft should also be covered.
Spokesperson for the group, Toni Clarke, said: “Pets are family and the bond we share has never been dependent on what species we take into our hearts and homes.
We are their familiarity, comfort and caregivers so should it really matter whether five, six or seven thefts are dogs, cats or horses when we absolutely know that 10-out-of-10 suffer?”
Co-founders Richard Jordan and Arnot Wilson say, “We feel that the offence of pet abduction should be based on sentience not statistics and that we should not discriminate when all pets have the capacity to suffer equally.”
Extend the new dog abduction theft offence to cover cats and all kept animals: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/602349
Bolton Newspaper article: https://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/19994367.cat-theft-campaigners-want-perpetrators-punished/
Cat Theft increases by more than 40% in 2021 according to Police FOI figures!*
During Pet Theft Awareness Week, 14th to 21st March, the organisers will be highlighting the need for cats (as well as other kept animals) to be included in the new offence of ‘Pet Abduction’.
In response to the dramatic increase in pet thefts during the pandemic, the Government set up the Pet Theft Taskforce which reported in September recommending a new offence of ‘Pet Abduction’.
Campaign group Pet Theft Awareness is disappointed that the Government, using the statistics that seven in 10 thefts were dogs, decided to add the proposed offence to the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill but “focus on the abduction of dogs in the first instance”.
In publishing their annual Cat Theft Report using FOI statistics from 38 police constabularies, Pet Theft Awareness found that recorded cat theft has increased by more than 40% in 2021 and believes that this is strong evidence that cats should be included in the new offence if only based on statistics. Their spokesperson and author of the annual Cat Theft Report, Toni Clarke, who is sadly only too familiar with the heartbreak of having a cat stolen, said:
“Pets are family and the bond we share has never been dependent on what species we take into our hearts and homes. We are their familiarity, comfort and caregivers so should it really matter whether five, six or seven thefts are dogs, cats or horses when we absolutely know that 10 out of 10 suffer? It is baffling that statistics should form the government’s justification for limiting the Pet Abduction Offence to dogs when so much of the narrative in the Taskforce’s report acknowledges a shared sentience. Our FOI data is showing a hugely concerning increase in cat theft over the past year and yet our feline family members will be left outside of this protective legislation, still to be dealt with as inanimate objects under Theft Act 1968. Dogs, however, will be recognised as sentient and will benefit from the proposed Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) law. How can this be right or fair?”
Pet Theft Awareness welcomes the Dog Abduction legislation and agrees with the Government’s response that “the new offence better reflects the view that dogs are not inanimate objects but sentient beings capable of experiencing distress and other emotional trauma when they are stolen from their owners or keepers.” However, the campaign group believe that this statement should also apply to all kept species, including cats, and is certainly not just applicable to dogs.
Co-founders Richard Jordan and Arnot Wilson say, “We feel that the offence of pet abduction should be based on sentience not statistics and that we should not discriminate when all pets have the capacity to suffer equally”.
Richard Jordan continues, “Victims of horse or cat theft are just as devastated as victims of dog theft and this is why we set up a petition to not discriminate against different kept animals.”.
Debbie Matthews CEO and co-founder of Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance adds, “We are saddened to see another increase in dog and cat theft for 2021. The Pet Theft Reform campaign to get pets moved from the property Theft Act has been successful for dogs, with the Government announcement that Dog Abduction will be a new criminal offence in the Kept Animal Bill, which is working its way through Parliament now. But what happened to cats? Cats are family too and we will continue to campaign to have them included in this new Pet Abduction offence. The new Pet Abduction law will give more powers to the police and allow tougher sentencing by the courts which will act as a deterrent and stop this crime being seen as a low risk, high reward crime by the thieves.”
“Don’t make it easy for thieves!”
- Stay fully focused whilst walking your dog.
- Opportunist dog thieves will steal from unattended dogs in gardens.
- Be aware that organised pet thieves seek out entire litters of puppies and kittens.
- Never be alone during viewings or allow yourself to be distracted by strangers in your home.
- Horse theft is most common during loans. Get legal advice when loaning horses.
- When it comes to homing a new pet establish who the owner is. Should a relationship end know in advance who gets custody.
- Neuter your pet as thieves commonly steal to profit from breeding.
During the Pet Theft Awareness week supporters will be asking the public to sign the petition: Extend the new dog abduction theft offence to cover cats and all kept animals.
*With four police forces still to report.