To assist combat the pandemic’s surge in dognappings, a new pet-theft crime has been created.
Stolen pets will no longer be regarded as a loss of property as a result of an impending legislation change in recognition of the anguish that results from the loss of a pet.
According to the authorities, the new offense of pet abduction will give precedence to the animal’s well-being and help cops track events and offenders.
The sentence has not yet been determined, but according to previous reports, it may result in a prison term of up to five years.
In the last year, there has been an increase in dognapping and other pets being stolen – and following more than 500,000 people signing a petition calling for a specific dog theft crime to be created, parliament debated proposals to make it easier to locate missing pets in June.
The study reviewed evidence from specialists on the rise of this sort of crime, which has seen criminals looking to profit from the popularity of dogs as companions during the epidemic.
Some breeds’ costs climbed by 89% during the pandemic, mirroring a surge in interest from consumers who were dedicating more time to their homes.
According to the investigation, seven in 10 animal robberies recorded by the police involve dogs. In 2020, 2,000 dog theft offenses were reported to police.
The current pandemic has resulted in “the price of pets climbing dramatically,” according to Environment Secretary George Eustice, who added that this has “given a stronger motive for these criminal networks.”
“Pets are highly cherished family members all across the nation, and stories of an increase in pet theft have been worrying,” he added.
“Pet owners shouldn’t have to live in fear, and I am pleased this report acknowledges the unique distress caused by this crime. Its recommendations will reassure pet owners, help the police to tackle pet theft, and deliver justice for victims.”
The environment secretary, Michael Gove, added that animal welfare is a “very important issue” for his department and that action must be taken as the UK is now seeing “about 2,000 such cases each year.”
In May, the Kowalczyks’ two-year-old French bulldog Tina was taken from their vehicle – and she has yet to be recovered.
Tina’s owner, Patrycja Kowalczyk, said: “I don’t think people realize how devastating it is to have a family member killed. Tina is like a second aunt to me.”
“She’s not just a dog. She’s not just a pet. She was a part of our family, honestly and we are not whole without her.”
She recalled, “And I remember the shopping that we did on that day – it lay on my kitchen floor for about a week.
“The meat was rotting the ice cream was fully melted like our lives completely froze. And the house was dead. Like, I promise you there was… no kind of, or even a hint of joy there.”
The report also includes recommendations for expanding data gathering and standardizing England’s 16 pet microchip registries in order to make it more difficult for stolen pets to be lost.
The new policies will also give the government more information on pet theft incidents.
The government will now conduct an investigation of the recommendations in the report, as well as drafting legislation to establish a pet abduction crime.