Pet thieves could be looking at up to five years in jail under a proposed new criminal offence.
The Government has set out plans to crack down on dog theft in its Kept Animals Bill.
Previously, pet theft was treated as a loss of property, but the new dog abduction offence will also factor in the emotional distress caused to both the pet and the owner.
Animal welfare groups have ‘wholeheartedly welcomed’ the move, saying they’re pleased that the Government has recognised how heartbreaking it can be to have your pet stolen.
Those who steal four-legged friends will now face jail sentences of up to five years.
The dog abduction offence is being added following a recommendation by the Pet Theft Taskforce, launched in May 2021 to tackle the reported rises in people’s pets being stolen.
More than 2000 incidents of animal theft were reported to police last year, with around 70% of those involving dogs.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “The loss of a much-loved pet causes unique distress. I am pleased that we are legislating to recognise this specific crime.
“The new dog abduction offence will reflect the impact on animals in penalties for criminals, and deliver justice for victims.
Chief veterinary officer, Dr Christine Middlemiss said: “The recognition of the distress caused to animals by pet theft is an important step forward, treating them as sentient beings rather than merely property.”
David Bowles, head of public affairs at the RSPCA, said: “The theft of a pet is devastating and we’re pleased the Government has announced these amendments which we hope will act as a real deterrent to those who carry out this crime.
“While the current proposed law applies to dogs, we are really pleased to see the Government has also recognised how much other animals mean to people as well, and put in provision to extend it to other pets.
“We hope this new law, which will see sentences up to five years, will help crackdown on the heart-breaking issue of pet theft.”
Paula Boyden, veterinary director at Dogs Trust, said: “Having your beloved pet stolen is an extremely stressful, often heart-breaking experience. “For years, Dogs Trust has called for harsher penalties to deter those who profit from this despicable crime.
“We wholeheartedly welcome the measures the Government has taken today to tackle pet theft and prioritise the welfare of our pets as sentient beings, and very much hope that the increased sentencing will make pet thieves think twice.”
James Corden is trending as football fans joke loser of England vs USA ‘has to keep him’
Twitter users might have noticed that James Corden is trending again – and it’s not because it’s nearly Gavin and Stacey Christmas Special season.
The reason the British actor, comedian and presenter is trending is much funnier.
Once the World Cup games were matched up and we realised England and USA would face off in the group stages, people started joking that they would use Corden as a punishment for losing.
It’s become an ongoing joke that the loser of tonight’s World Cup match will ‘have to keep James Corden’.
And nobody seems to want that.
Corden fell out of favour last month when New York restaurant Balthazar called him ‘a tiny Cretin of a man’ and said that he abused their staff on his visit.
He was banned, then apologised, and now all seems to be forgiven.
But the internet does not forgive so easily.
At the time of writing, England vs USA is drawn 0-0.
Here are some of the tweets that sum up why James Corden is trending tonight:
You can buy half Christmas trees so you don’t have to decorate the full thing
December is nearly ready for rolling around once again.
It’s time to reach out the decorations out and get into the festive spirit, but for those who’d consider themselves a bit lazy, there’s an invention that could be a life saver, and it’s quite honestly genius.
You can now buy ‘half Christmas trees’ – otherwise known as or ‘against the wall Christmas trees’.
Unless your tree’s going to placed in front of a street-facing window for rafts of passers-by to see on a daily basis, it can be really tempting to just not decorate the back of it at all, right? The faff off trying to evenly-distribute strings of lights, tinsel and baubles around a full tree is often a lot more trouble than it’s worth, especially when it’s not going to be properly seen anyway.
Some would probably say it’s pointless, and it’s this thought that has presumably prompted companies to start selling these ‘half Christmas trees’.
If you’re wondering what a ‘half Christmas tree’ is, it’s basically exactly as it sounds – half a tree.
Half Christmas trees – which are also a great option for those with slightly less space to dedicate to seasonal decorations – are available in various places, and for all manner of budgets, so it should be fairly easy to get your hands on one this festive season.
According to the product description on the Very website: “This may look like a regular Christmas tree, but it’s been cleverly designed so that one side is completely flat, so no matter how limited your space might be, you and your family can still enjoy the magic of having a tree in your home,”
“Standing an impressive 6ft tall and featuring 511 tips for a lush look, you can stand it flat against the wall to save on valuable floor space,
“It also means you don’t have to worry about any of your favourite decorations being out of sight at the back”.
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper though, then there’s plenty of different options available on eBay and Amazon too, and our pick for this would be the vidaXL Artificial Half Christmas Tree – which is currently being sold on eBay by a number of different sellers for prices starting at £24.