MPs have expressed disappointment at the government’s response to their call to make pet theft a specific criminal offence.
Last month, following a string of petitions with more than 250,000 signatures, the Petitions Committee supported calls for the government to ensure the value of pets is fully recognised in the law and for pet theft to be made a specific crime.
In a letter to the Secretary of State for Justice, committee chair catherine McKinnell MP and committee member Tom Hunt MP urged ministers to ensure that sentencing options available to courts acted as a real deterrent for those who commit pet theft crimes.
The letter also set out options for the government on how to achieve this, and urged ministers to take urgent action to amend legislation.
The response from the Government comes as recent research by Doglost showed thefts surged 65% amid lockdown – compared with the same period last year. The figures will add to concerns raised by pet theft reform campaigners, whose research has shown that the number of thefts is continuing to increase year-on-year.
McKinnell, said: “Pet theft is a truly callous crime. It strikes at the heart of families and the evidence is showing that every year the Government fails to take action the problem is getting worse.
“With the issue of pet theft now spiralling, it is incredibly disappointing that the Government have decided against taking action and bringing forward tougher sentencing for this awful crime.”
She added: “Petitioners have been pressing parliament and the government on this issue since 2018, with more than 250,000 signatures on petitions urging action to be taken.
“With significant cross-party consensus and public support on this issue, the petitions committee will continue to raise it with the government and look to ensure there is opportunity to challenge their response by scheduling a parliamentary debate to ensure the petitioners concerns continue to be heard.”