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Pet theft awareness: Calling for reform

Did you know 60 dogs a week are stolen in the UK?

With the growing market for selling, breeding and even fighting dogs, pet theft is sadly on the rise.

Launching today until March 21st we’re taking part in the Pet Theft Awareness week. We will be sharing heart-breaking stories and publishing a pack to advise you on ways in which you can prevent your dog being stolen and to help those who have lost their pet. 

We will also be taking this opportunity to promote the Pet Theft Reform Bill to make the theft of a pet a crime in its own right, securing harsher punishments for perpetrators.  

Did you know that stealing a pet is currently no worse than stealing a mobile phone in the eyes of the law?

Sentencing for such a crime doesn’t act as a strong enough deterrent to people looking to make a profit by stealing a beloved pet to sell on the black market, regardless of the pain and misery it will bring upon the dog and its owner.

In February last year the government was asked to introduce a new specific offence for theft of a pet after a petition received 100,000 signatures.

The government debated this bill on 2nd July 2018 and the bill is due for a second reading in the House of Commons at later date, which is still yet to be confirmed. 

NAWT are backing the campaign to get legislation changed so those who commit the heinous offence of stealing a pet, get a custodial sentence. 

Stolen whippet-cross Ruby hasn't been seen since May 2018

Rae Avatar Barnett and Neil Coleman’s world turned upside down in May last year when they were out walking their dogs, Louis and Ruby, in fields near to their home.

Ruby, a four-year-old whippet-cross disappeared after she ran off to chase some rabbits. Ruby was used to being off-lead and until that day, she had always come back to her owners when called. 

After almost a year since Ruby’s disappearance, the couple are still frantically searching for their beloved dog.  

Above: Rae holding a picture of whippet-cross Ruby

They’ve spent nights camping out to investigate alleged sightings and even hired sniffer dogs and helicopters to search further afield for the dog. 

So far they have had no luck. 

Ruby’s owners have reported her as stolen and potentially sold on to another part of the country but until they have proof that Ruby is no longer alive, they will never give up hope of finding her.

Of 1,678 reported pet thefts in 2017, only 2 per cent of cases resulted in someone being charged.

To keep up to date with our Pet Theft awareness activity, like us on Facebook, follow our Twitter and sign up to our newsletter. 

To get involved in the pet theft conversation you can:

1. Contact your local MP to tell them you support Ross Thomson’s Pet Theft Bill and you’d like news of its second reading.
2. Follow @DogLostUK @marcthevet and @vetsgetscanning on Twitter.
3. Tweet your local MP to discuss the Pet Theft Reform Bill.
4. Sign the newly launched Pet Theft Reform Petition.

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