Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne has today welcomed the news that those who abduct dogs will now face up to five years behind bars.
The amendment to the Kept Animals Bill properly reflects the emotional distress caused by pet theft and follows recommendations made by the Pet Theft Taskforce, of which Commissioner Bourne was a key member. Prior to this new offence, pet theft was treated merely as a loss of property to the owner which completely undermined the sense of loss and grief experienced.
She said: “I’m delighted that the Government has recognised the extreme distress, grief and sense of loss that pet theft can cause to both owners and their dogs with this amendment.
“In a landmark survey, which I conducted earlier this year, 87% of respondents disagreed with the current classification of pets as mere property and wanted to see much harsher sentencing.
“Pets are a much loved member of the family and the amendment to the Kept Animals Bill now reflects the lasting emotional impact that their theft can have. It also sends a strong message to thieves that they could face up to five years in prison.”