Petition Make pet abduction a specific criminal offence

Pets are family. Their abduction a traumatic experience. Despite this, stolen pets are regarded as personal property, with sentences dependent on monetary value. The Government should recognise the emotional & welfare impacts this crime has on people & pets by introducing a 'pet abduction' offence.

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Pet Theft Reform has been campaigning to make pet theft a specific offence with access to appropriate custodial sentences since 2018. Four petitions in four years - each triggered parliamentary debates, with a total of 684,970 signatures.

Following a recommendation from the Pet Theft Taskforce, the Government added pet abduction ("taking of pets") to the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill in November 2021.

The Government dropped the Kept Animals Bill in May 2023.

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Government responded

This response was given on 4 September 2023

Whilst the theft of pets is already a crime, we would be supportive of legislation on pet abduction when parliamentary time allows.

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We understand the devastating impact that the theft of a pet can have. While stealing a pet is already an offence, we have listened carefully to views expressed on pet abduction. That is why we would be supportive of legislating on pet abduction as a single-issue Bill in the next Parliamentary session.

Microchipping of cats will be compulsory from 10 June 2024, in addition to dogs. Registration on a compliant database will also be required, as set out in the regulations. This is intended to increase the likelihood of reuniting stolen or lost pets with their owners/keepers.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

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