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Government to toughen sanctions against dog theft explosion in UK

The British government announced on Friday to make the theft of pets a criminal offense, in an attempt to curb a phenomenon that exploded during the pandemic, arousing the emotion of Britons very attached to their four-legged companions.

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Currently, a stolen animal is considered by law to be a lost item. A bill, which will be presented to Parliament, “Take into account the welfare of animals and the fact that pets are seen as more than a property”, indicates the Ministry of the Environment in a press release.

The move coincides with the release of a report by a task force set up by the government in May 2021 to tackle a dog theft epidemic in a country that has a total of some 10 million dogs.

The prison sentence incurred was not specified

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, animal rights associations sounded the alarm and deputies from all political stripes called on the government to toughen sanctions.

Because to deceive the boredom, loneliness and anguish linked to the hard and long confinements that have followed one another in the country, the British have been numerous to want to acquire a pet. Prices have skyrocketed, attracting greed.

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According to the report, seven out of ten animal thefts recorded by police involved dogs. The price of some particularly desirable breeds has increased by up to 89% compared to pre-pandemic prices.

“Stealing a pet is a horrific crime that can cause great emotional distress for families and meanwhile callous criminals line their pockets”, lamented the Minister of the Interior, Priti Patel.

The new offense will give the police “An additional tool” to bring these people to justice, she added.

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The chief executive of the animal welfare association, RSPCA, Chris Sherwood, said he hoped “That this will encourage the courts to impose much tougher sentences on pet thieves”.

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