Kennel Club welcomes Pet Abduction Bill becoming law

The Kennel Club, one of the UK’s biggest organisations dedicated to dog health and welfare, has welcomed the passing of a new law which will introduce a specific criminal offence for those who steal pets.

Under the Pet Abduction Bill – a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by Anna Firth MP – anyone found guilty of stealing a pet will face up to five years in prison, a fine, or both. The Bill has today (24 May) passed through its final stage in the House of Lords and will become law.

“We’re thrilled that this important Bill – which introduces a new and specific offence to tackle pet theft – will become law,” comments Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club. “We applaud the hard and persistent work of every organisation and individual who has been raising awareness of this issue and calling for action for many years.

“Currently, the theft of a pet is treated no more seriously than the theft of a mobile phone, despite the utter heartbreak it causes. This new law 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.”

The Kennel Club has long campaigned on the issue of pet theft, lobbying for sentencing to recognise the emotional value of a dog and for better reporting and recording from officials so that underlying causes of dog theft can be tackled. Its ‘Paw and Order’ campaign, launched after lockdown to urge action, illustrated the need for reform and spurred thousands of dog lovers across the UK to write to their MP. Statistics gathered as part of the campaign revealed the failure to tackle a crime that is devastating nearly 200 families every month, as just two per cent of dog theft cases in 2020 resulted in a criminal charge.  

Further information about the campaign and current laws around pet theft, and advice on keeping dogs safe, is available on The Kennel Club’s website.