Make Pet Theft a Specific Crime in UK Law and Recognise Sentience in our Pets

Make Pet Theft a Specific Crime in UK Law and Recognise Sentience in our Pets

28 July 2019
Petition to
The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP (Prime Minister) and 1 other
Signatures: 543,507Next Goal: 1,000,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by Stan Rawlinson

In the eyes of the law, stealing a beloved family dog is the same as stealing a mobile phone or a bike. The law should reflect the crime's impact on the victims, the families, and the pets themselves. Dogs are sentient beings, not inanimate objects - that’s why I’m calling for pet theft to be a specific criminal offence.

Some police forces are recording dog thefts as a petty crime, there is nothing petty in the theft of a much-loved pet. Pet theft rips the heart out of families and wrecks lives.

I’m a dog behaviourist and my work has involved helping people find their stolen dogs. I’ve seen first-hand how absolutely heartbreaking it is for families when a dog is stolen - and how devastating it is for the pet.

I believe that so-called dognapping has almost the same effect on the family as kidnapping, pets are also family members. It is time the law reflected this in the sentencing of offenders, who care nothing about the distress and anxiety their actions cause.

The Government announced on the 18th of November 2021 the following: A new criminal offence to crack down on dog theft and put people who steal these much-loved pets behind bars for up to five years has been set out in the Government’s Kept Animals Bill.

14.5 months later and still nothing has happened dogs are still being stolen by organised gangs and families are being devastated. This must stop and the Government must act as they promised they would do.

Dog theft has risen dramatically over the last 5 years. Making pet theft a specific crime will make it possible for us to crack down on these heartless crooks.

Please sign my petition to help stop this heartbreaking offence.
Stan Rawlinson, Dog Behaviourist. and Expert Witness under the DDA Act 1991.

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Signatures: 543,507Next Goal: 1,000,000
Support now


  • The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MPPrime Minister
  • The Rt Hon Priti PatelHome Secretary