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.

More details

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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At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament

Other parliamentary business

MPs ask Government for an update on plans to introduce a specific offence of pet abduction

The Petitions Committee, the group of MPs who consider parliamentary e-petitions, has written to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to request an update on the Government’s plans to make pet theft a specific criminal offence.

The Government included plans to make pet theft an offence in the Animal Welfare (Kept Animals) Bill, which was withdrawn in June 2023. The Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said that the Government would take forward measures in the Bill separately during the remainder of the Parliament.

However, legislation to make pet theft an offence has not yet been introduced, and was not included in the 2023 King’s Speech, which set out the Government’s legislative programme for the remainder of this Parliament.

The Committee has asked for an update on the Government's plans by Wednesday 6 December. We’ll share the Government's response with you when we receive this.

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