Great Pet Theft Debate chaos – did the dog eat the minister’s homework ?

 

After a very passionate debate (click here for Hansard) where every single MP spoke eloquently in favour of much stronger penalties for pet theft, the Government response was that the law did not need strengthening as the sentence was already appropriate.

But the minister consistently misquoted the current penalties for pet theft.

The punishments he was mistaken in thinking already existed were actually an improvement and partly what campaigners were asking for!

SAMPA’s legal advisor, Professor John Cooper QC tried to get a message to the minster during the debate to correct the error but was advised by officials it was too late.

In summing up the Government Minister George Eustace massively exaggerated the existing sentence guidelines for pet theft. He seemed convinced that the crime was already rated a category two offence which could result in up to 3.5 years in custody dependent on culpability.

https://parliamentlive.tv/Download/Index/9361d6d6-d300-4e72-a9b2-c9cc782cbfe4

Sadly, in reality, pet theft is only a category three or four offence – which most often results in a fine or community service. Making this an increasingly attractive crime as pointed out by very many MPs during the debate.

Pet Theft, it was agreed by all, was rising steeply. It was perceived by criminals as being a low risk high reward crime as there was no significant punishment.

Minister George Eustace in summing up said: “Our reading of the current guidance, which was issued in 2016, is that in applying that guidance, the theft of a pet should be considered as either a category two or a category three offence. The custodial sentence is two years for a category two offence and one year for a category three. My hon. Friend is right that, applying our interpretation of the most recent guidance, a seven-year maximum penalty is largely theoretical for pet theft unless there are other aggravating circumstances. But as a general rule, category two or three would seem to be an appropriate sentence.

“First, let us use this debate to be absolutely clear that the Government interpret the latest guidance from the Sentencing Council that the theft of a pet should generally be treated as a category two or three offence.”

A FOI request to all police forces in May 2018 by Dr Daniel Allen underlines how badly advised the government minster was…

Only one police force had any record of pet theft resulting in a custodial sentence.

  • Two people were given 12 month community orders
  • One person received six months’ imprisonment

The figures also revealed that very few reported pet theft crimes ever resulted in a conviction.

A FOI request to all police forces in May 2018 by Dr Daniel Allen underlines how badly advised the government minster was…

Only one police force had any record of pet theft resulting in a custodial sentence.

  • Two people were given 12 month community orders
  • One person received six months’ imprisonment

The figures also revealed that very few reported pet theft crimes ever resulted in a conviction.

2,030 dog theft crimes were recorded by 17 police forces from 2015 to 2018

66 led to charges (3.25%).

96.75% of dog theft crimes from 2015 to 2018 ended without charge.

All the above was in SAMPA’s comprehensive briefing document, sent to all MPs ahead of the debate.

So campaigners are still left wondering if this apparent defeat was actually a famous victory as the Government minister promised that, “pet should generally be treated as a category two or three offence.”

The BBC think he said no to improved sentencing – so it’s not just us confused! https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44686041?SThisFB

Re posted from…

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/great-pet-theft-debate-ruined-did-dog-eat-ministers-beverley-cuddy

 

 

9 Comments

  1. doglost CJ 4 months ago

    Sorry is his name spelt correct…should be George Useless…..

    1. Inge Prela 4 months ago

      He has always been useless, how he got into the position he’s in, is a total mystery to me.

  2. Vicki Hudson 4 months ago

    You should be proud of the work you have done as a team and remember this is not the end!! Far from it x

  3. mistynsashasmum 4 months ago

    I agree CJ you have spelt his name right

    What is wrong with these Ministers? have they never owned a pet?

    Do they not realise the devastation these thieves leave behind? with devastated owners and disorientated pets who don’t understand what is happening to them as they have do have a brain, feelings and a beating heart just like us!!

  4. Nola 4 months ago

    MP George Eustace muddled his facts, have dog thieves a green light – and ignored and trashed all the 106,000 people who signed the petition, and other MP’s that stated facts to make a unishment fit the crime.
    He trashed the whole debate and gave a green light to all dog thieves. This is unacceptable from an MP who has been elected to protect ‘us’ – the U.K. population . I believe he is a farmer who breeds for slaughter, this must be why and how he lacks in compassion.
    He messed up the facts- how can we get his wrongful facts and uncaring opinion over-ruled?
    Can we start another petition? And keep fighting back? I’m very angry that this incompetent man ignored the British public and has helped dog thieves by turning a blind eye. He simply wasn’t bothered was he!

  5. Jenny Longmuir 4 months ago

    Then they wonder why People take the Law into their own hands!!! We cant let it lie down , they must be pressured into doing more , its beyond a joke

  6. Phebe Cooper 4 months ago

    It is now going through to a second reading.

  7. Helen Burton 4 months ago

    And so it should , obviously not on the most urgent agenda considering the mis information issue, hope they realise that their disinterest could cause a massive influx of lost/ missing / stolen dogs !!

  8. Bobble 4 months ago

    We came up with the same type of problems with Finns Law which has another reading 6.7.18. Many ministers saying that existing law was adequate when it clearly is not and they’d been mis-informed. fingers crossed for Friday.

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.