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

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In the eyes of the law, stealing a beloved family dog is seen as the same as stealing a phone or bike. The law should reflect the impact this crime has on the victims - both 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 animal too. 

I believe that so-called dognapping has almost the same effect on the family as kidnapping, as pets are seen as family members. It is time the law reflected this in the sentencing of offenders who do not care about the distress and anxiety their actions cause.

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.