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Dogs: Theft

Question for Ministry of Justice

UIN 16112, tabled on 15 June 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, when he plans to bring forward proposals to strengthen sentencing for people who steal dogs from residential property.

Answered on

23 June 2021

The government fully understands the deep distress caused by the theft of a much-loved pet and the importance of dealing with such crimes. All reported crimes should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. Theft has a maximum penalty of 7 years’ imprisonment and burglary has a maximum penalty of 14 years, and so the courts can already deal with these cases effectively.

Earlier this year the Lord Chancellor, Home Secretary and Environment Secretary met to discuss a cross-government approach to address pet theft, and set up a cross-Government taskforce to investigate and tackle this issue.

This taskforce will gather evidence to understand the factors that may be contributing to any rise in pet thefts and to recommend any necessary measures to tackle the problem. It will consider the issue from end to end, including causes, prevention, reporting, and enforcement, examining every option available to protect families from this hurtful crime and make sure perpetrators feel the full force of the law. The taskforce is due to report its recommendations in the summer.