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New pet theft law must have teeth to punish criminals - MP

September 3, 2021 12:09 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has welcomed this morning's announcement that dognappers are set to face tougher penalties under plans to make pet abduction a standalone criminal offence.

Theft of a pet is currently treated as a loss of an owner's property, and campaigners say this does not properly reflect the emotional trauma of losing a cherished animal.

The number of dog thefts in Cumbria has more than doubled during the pandemic, with figures from Cumbria Police showing that 46 dogs were reported stolen in the county last year, compared to just 22 in 2019.

Back in July, Tim was the only Cumbrian MP to vote in favour of making pet theft a specific criminal offence.

Tim said: "As someone who has been campaigning for - and voted in Parliament for - pet theft to become a specific criminal offence, I warmly welcome today's news.

"As a dog owner myself, I know that pets are very much part of people's families.

"What's crucial now is that this new law has teeth and comes with much tougher sentences for criminals who steal pets."