‘Part of the family!’ Calls for cats to be included in new pet theft crackdown #PetTheftReform


CATS should be included in a new pet theft law, campaigners are demanding.

Excellent article in the Daily Express by Katie Harris https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/1561193/pet-theft-cat-theft-petition-dog-theft-kept-animals-bill

Dognappers are facing a crackdown in upcoming legislation in England meaning they will face up to five years in prison. However, campaigners are calling for the offence to be extended to cats, horses and other pets

Petition link asking the Government to
Extend the new dog abduction theft offence to cover cats and all kept animals: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/602349

Dr Daniel Allen, animal geographer at Keele University and founder of the Pet Theft Reform campaign, said: “Making a five-year maximum sentence accessible for those who steal dogs is a positive step, as is recognising the emotional distress experienced by people and pets.

“Pet Theft Reform campaigners are now urging the Government to consider extending this offence to cats and other companion animals.”null

Sir Bruce Forsyth’s daughter Debbie Matthews, CEO of Stolen And Missing Pets Alliance, added: “Pet theft is heartbreaking for owners and must be absolutely terrifying for any animal, cats included.

“Cats are just as much a part of the family as dogs and there should be the same deterrent for cat thieves.

“We will continue the Pet Theft Reform campaign for cats and other companion animals.”

Danella Scott’s beloved Siamese cat Kobe pictured above – who was microchipped – vanished from Sevenoaks, Kent, in August 2019 and all they found was his GPS tracking collar.

She spent hours a day looking for him, put up hundreds of posters, made him social media accounts and even hired a private detective in a bid to track him down.

Mrs Scott said: “It’s absolutely horrendous because they say it’s pet theft but for me it’s kidnapping because he’s part of our family.”

She added: “I still look for him now because there’s no closure.”

Toni Clarke has campaigned for tougher pet theft laws since her microchipped Siamese, called Clooney, disappeared in Hemblington, Norfolk, in June 2013.

Mrs Clarke, who is one of the petition starters, described it as “perpetual torment”.

Calls for the new legislation to be expanded to include cats and other companion animals have been backed by Tory MP Dr Neil Hudson, who is a vet.

Dr Hudson said: “Sadly, in rural areas such as my constituency of Penrith and The Border, animal theft is happening all too often.

Clooney stolen from Norfolk in 2013

“This is hugely distressing for owners and animals.

“The Government has been proactive in bringing forward legislation on pet theft but I firmly believe this should be expanded.

“We need to put an end to these dreadful and distressing animal theft crimes.

“As a vet I feel incredibly strongly about this and our need to protect these fully sentient animals in our care. I continue to meet with ministers to press this case.”

Cat thefts increased by 194 percent between 2015 and 2020 from 150 to 441, according to Freedom of Information requests to UK police forces by the Pet Theft Awareness campaign group, however the true figures are thought to be much higher.

Pet theft is currently treated the same as loss of property to an owner but the new dog abduction offence will take into account the emotional distress caused.

A Defra spokesperson said: “This Government takes the issue of pet theft very seriously and we understand the pain and distress caused by the theft of a much loved family pet.

“A new criminal offence to crack down on dog theft has been added to the Kept Animals Bill, and we are considering whether to extend this to other pets in the future.”