Industry News,  Lead

Pet abduction to become criminal offence in August

Pet abduction will become a criminal offence in August in England and Northern Ireland after legislation received Royal Assent.

Under the Pet Abduction Act 2024 – which was a Private Members’ Bill sponsored by Anna Firth MP and Lord Black of Brentwood and supported by the government – anyone found guilty of stealing a pet in England or Northern Ireland will face up to five years in prison, a fine, or both.

The new law recognises that cats and dogs are not inanimate objects, but sentient beings capable of experiencing distress and other emotional trauma when they are stolen from their owners.

Evidence from the Pet Theft Taskforce suggests around 2,000 dogs and more than 400 cat theft crimes were reported to police in 2020, causing considerable distress for owners and their pets alike.

However, legislation to address dog attacks on livestock has run out of time and will not now become law.

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