As part of Pet Theft Awareness Week (14 to 21 March 2017), Dog Theft Awareness Day is being held on Tuesday 14 March at Portcullis House, Houses of Parliament.
With dog theft increasing year on year, Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford and owner of a Labrador is hosting the event. He aims to bring the problem to the attention of his fellow MPs and encourage them to support his campaign for a change in the legislation in regard to dog theft.
Mr Johnson said “Dog theft is a particularly nasty crime which causes great distress to the owners and to the dogs themselves.
“It is a rising issue in this country with hundreds of dogs being stolen every year. Too often dogs that are stolen are simply reported as missing and very few are ever returned to their owners.”
Mr Johnson contacted all 43 Police Forces in England and Wales and went on to say: “Of the 34 Forces which replied, we discovered there have been more than 5000 reported cases of dog theft since 2011. Of these just 12 percent of dogs were reported to have been returned to their owners.”
Although Pet Theft Awareness Week is primarily an event to encourage people to be more diligent in protecting their pets from potential theft, its organisers have also campaigned for many years for a change in the law regarding dog theft.
Richard Jordan of VioVet, the online veterinary retailer and Arnot Wilson of the Dog Union, co-founders of Pet Theft Awareness, said “We are privileged to be part of this event. It is a unique opportunity for us to influence MPs in supporting Gareth Johnson’s campaign.
“It seems incredible to think that dog theft was a specific crime from 1770 until the current act, Theft Act 1968 when it was relegated to being a chattel. We are not seeking the punishment as in the previous acts but we are asking for a greater deterrent than exists at present.”