Ministers told to toughen pet theft laws to end ‘light touch sentences’

Ministers have been urged to toughen laws around pet theft to end “light touch sentences”.

Tory Ross Thomson told MPs that under current legislation dogs were treated the same as a “mobile phone or TV” and if stolen courts could merely give “a slap on the wrist”.

Mr Thomson, proposing his Pets (Theft) Bill, argued there was a need for a separate criminal offence of pet theft — giving greater sentencing powers and acting as a greater deterrent.

The Aberdeen South MP, moving his Bill via a 10-minute rule motion, said: “As it stands the law does not properly recognise the real harm that pet theft can cause, because pets are not inherently treated differently to inanimate objects.

“In England and Wales sentencing guidelines are based primarily around the financial value of the possession, whether it be a mobile phone, TV or a beloved family pet.

“Victims of pet theft have not just lost a financial asset they’ve lost a much loved members of the family, pet theft can be truly devastating and distressing experience, losing a pet can tear the heart out of a family and that is what the law should but doesn’t recognise.”

📜 This afternoon I will introduce my Bill on #PetTheft. I’m seeking to make stealing a pet a serious criminal, punishable offence which recognises the emotional importance of pets as members of the family. Pet theft is truly heart-breaking and it’s time for #PetTheftReform 🐶

— Ross Thomson MP (@RossThomson_MP) July 3, 2018

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