Home Secretary's commitment to stronger penalties for pet theft welcomed by The Kennel Club

Long-term vision deemed crucial to protect nation’s dogs during ‘puppy pandemic’ effect on ownership

The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to dog health and welfare has welcomed a commitment from the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, to introduce tougher measures on pet theft.

The Kennel Club, which last year launched its Be Puppywise campaign as thousands sought creature comfort during the pandemic, has long pushed for amends to the Animal Welfare Act to make pet theft a specific offence which recognises the theft of a dog, or any other pet, has an impact that far exceeds any associated financial cost.

Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club, said: “We’re delighted that the Home Secretary has recognised the devastating effects of pet theft and the need for reform, especially in the current climate where demand for dogs is sky-high and criminals are cashing in. Currently the theft of a dog is treated no more seriously than the theft of a mobile phone, despite the utter heartbreak it causes, making it a low-risk crime as well as a profitable one.

“We have always been in favour of tougher sentencing and stronger penalties for pet theft and especially in the current climate, we would urge the Government to take swift action, recognising the emotional value of pets and impact on their owners’ lives and increasing penalties accordingly.”

Advice on preventing dog theft and further information on The Kennel Club’s campaign is available on the organisation’s website.