England To Make Pet Abduction A New Criminal Offence

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England To Make Pet Abduction A New Criminal Offence

England is to make pet abduction a specific criminal offense following a huge surge in pet kidnappings during the Covid-19 pandemic. As many as 2,000 dogs were reported stolen last year, often by organised criminal gangs that sell the pets on for a high price.


While pet abduction is currently a crime, it is regarded as a theft of property. The new law will now take into account the emotional effect such actions have on pet owners and potentially create steeper penalties for culprits.


A new task force will also be established to target pet abductors.


During the pandemic, there was a large rise in the number of dogs purchased, as people were alone for long periods of time, and the price of puppies and dogs also vastly increased, meaning they were an even more desirable prize for criminals.


The taskforce will also make recommendations such as requiring that all dogs be microchipped, that the microchip databases are centralised, demand an improving of communications on pet-abductions between police forces, and requiring detailed information from anyone selling a dog in person or online. DNA tests are also being considered, which would mean a dog could always be identified.


UK Home Secretary Priti Patel told reporters:


"Stealing a pet is an awful crime which can cause families great emotional distress whilst callous criminals line their pockets. The new offence of pet abduction acknowledges that animals are far more than just property and will give police an additional tool to bring these sickening individuals to justice."


While RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood added:


"We hope this will encourage courts to hand out much tougher sentences to pet thieves."


Tips already given out in order to prevent dog abductions include, avoiding leaving your dog in public, or tied up outside stores, keeping your garden locked and secure, and avoiding sharing excess information about your dog on online social media platforms.


Diane James, who works for the Blue Cross animal welfare charity, said:


"[We] would still advise owners to continue to be vigilant and follow advice to prevent becoming a victim of this abhorrent crime."


Sadly, as many people return to work and lockdown in the UK ends, animal charities have reported a swift upswing in the number of dogs being abandoned or given to animal shelters as the owners are no longer capable of looking after them.


[h/t: BBC]


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Thinking Humanity: England To Make Pet Abduction A New Criminal Offence
England To Make Pet Abduction A New Criminal Offence
England is to make pet abduction a specific criminal offense following a huge surge in pet kidnappings during the Covid-19 pandemic. As many as 2,000
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