The Kennel Club welcomes Pet Theft Taskforce and urges public pressure

The UK’s largest organisation dedicated to dog health and welfare, The Kennel Club, is urging the public to back a crackdown on pet theft, as committed by the UK Government in its Action Plan for Animal Welfare. The creation of a new Pet Theft Taskforce was announced by the Government earlier this week, alongside a number of other significant legislative proposals to support better animal welfare.

The Pet Theft Taskforce will undertake research and gather evidence to understand the scale of the issue and will make clear recommendations on ways to improve the situation across the nation.

To enable the pet-loving public to share their views and play its part in this crackdown on pet theft, The Kennel Club has produced a downloadable template letter – helping owners to raise their concerns with their MP and to spur Government to change the law.

Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club, said: “We warmly welcome the Government’s announcement of the Pet Theft Taskforce and their commitment to addressing this issue. The Kennel Club is calling for the Government to ensure that longer, more proportionate sentences are available for those guilty of this deeply upsetting crime. Currently, the theft of a pet is treated no more seriously than the theft of a mobile phone, despite the utter heartbreak it causes. Reform is desperately needed to ensure that sentencing provisions reflect a dog’s sentience and their role within their family, as well as fully taking into account the emotional harm inflicted on the victims of this crime.

“With unprecedented levels of demand for puppies during the pandemic, accompanied by an eye-watering increase in prices, it’s vital that more transparent data is collected to highlight the true extent of the issue and improve outcomes. According to our data, police were unable to identify a suspect in nearly 60 per cent of cases between 2015 and 2020, and only took action against offenders in 6 per cent of cases. If the Government was to allocate more resources to this issue and ensure recording of incidents was standardised, we would have greater transparency, a better idea of how severe the issue is, and potentially more stolen dogs reunited with their owners.”

Dr Hayes added: “We are urging anyone who wishes to see further action on this issue to download our template letter, which is available on our website, and join us in calling for a change in the law for the sake of the nation’s pets.”

The downloadable template letter, advice on preventing dog theft and further information on The Kennel Club’s campaign is available on the organisation’s dog theft information hub.