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Lib Dem Police and Crime Commissioner Candidate calls for dog theft to become a specific criminal offence

April 12, 2021 12:05 PM

Loraine and her dog PoppyLiberal Democrat candidate for Cumbria's Police and Crime Commissioner Loraine Birchall is calling on the Government to make dog theft a specific criminal offence to combat the worrying rise during the pandemic.

DogLost, a charity that helps reunite owners with their lost dogs, saw reported pet thefts soar from 172 dogs in 2019 to 465 in 2020.

The Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said in February that she was "looking at what we can do" to tackle the "absolutely shocking" crime.

However, a Freedom of Information request from local MP Tim Farron revealed that the Home Office had no information on any meetings on the issue involving Ms Patel since October 2020.

Loraine said: "I'm massively concerned about the really disturbing rise in dog theft over the past year.

"The law currently treats having your dog stolen as no more serious as having your purse or your phone stolen when actually you've had a well-loved family member cruelly snatched away from you.

"It's absolutely heart-breaking for the families involved and yet there is simply no deterrent to stop these criminals.

"The people who are committing these appalling crimes must be properly punished and that's why I'm calling for dog theft to be made a specific criminal offence."

Tim said: "It's very concerning that the Home Secretary might not be treating this growing problem with the seriousness that it deserves.

"I'm backing Loraine's calls that dog theft should be a specific crime, and treated with much more gravity given that our pets are part of our families.

"I'd want the Home Secretary to show that she understands that and to give us some hope that she will take the action that dog owners are demanding."