Government 'in talks' to curb recent rise in thefts across UK.
The Kennel Club has welcomed a commitment from the home secretary, Priti Patel to introduce stricter penalties for pet theft.
In an interview with LBC Radio, Ms Patel said she was in talks about upgrading pet theft to a more serious offence, in light of the recent rise in estimated thefts resulting from an increased demand for pets during lockdown.
The charity DogLost, recently revealed that reports of pet theft have increased by 170 per cent in the last year, from 172 dogs in 2019 to 465 in 2020, and the police are urging owners to take extra precautions to protect their pets.
Head of public affairs at The Kennel Club Dr Ed Hayes said: “We’re delighted that the Home Secretary has recognised the devastating effects of pet theft and the need for reform, especially in the current climate where demand for dogs is sky-high and criminals are cashing in.
“Currently the theft of a dog is treated no more seriously than the theft of a mobile phone, despite the utter heartbreak it causes, making it a low-risk crime as well as a profitable one.
“We have always been in favour of tougher sentencing and stronger penalties for pet theft and especially in the current climate, we would urge the Government to take swift action, recognising the emotional value of pets and impact on their owners’ lives and increasing penalties accordingly.”