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.”
BBC is looking for Mancs to take part in next series of Race Across the World
Are you a fan of travelling? Got yourself a bit of a competitive streak in your nature? This might just be your calling then.
The BBC is currently casting for the next series of Race Across the World.
The broadcaster has announced that the BAFTA-winning hit show is set to return to our TV screens for a third series later this year, and producers are now on the look-out for “intrepid duos” of all ages who reckon they’re ready to take a step into the unknown, and embark on an epic race across land and sea – and that includes Greater Manchester residents.
With applications for the next series of the massively-popular show now open, nomadic Mancs are being encouraged to take part.
On a limited budget and away from the luxuries of modern technology and conveniences, those lucky applicants selected to take part in the next series will get the chance to experience life in some of the world’s most beautiful and remote locations.
Navigating their way across thousands of miles, they’ll travel through spectacular scenery and dynamic cities, visit ancient wonders, learn local customs, and take part in time-honoured traditions.
But, as producers are keen to point out, “the physical journey is only half of the story”.
That’s because, as the contestants take on the challenge of travelling across the world, the greatest thing they’ll discover along the way could actually be about themselves and one another.
Putting out a UK-wide casting call on the BBC website this week, producers Studio Lambert wrote: “We are now accepting applications for the next series of Race Across the World. This experience is open to all, whether you’re a seasoned traveller or total novice.
“We want to hear what undertaking a trip like this would mean to you, and with a cash prize at stake, what lengths you would go to to win.
Applications for the massively-popular show are now open / Credit: BBC
“Maybe you’re looking to change something in your life? Or are keen to share the journey with someone special like a family member, best friend, or someone you’ve lost touch with. You may even have a very personal reason for wanting to travel at this time in your life or explore a particular part of the world.”
Fancy it then?
Applications for the third series of Race Across the World are now open for anyone over 18 years of age, with a deadline date of Friday 19 April 2024, and you can find out more information and apply via the BBC website.
Cheadle care home asks locals to take their dogs to its ‘Canine Café’ next week to cheer up residents
A Greater Manchester care home is calling on locals to take their dogs down to its ‘Canine Café’ next week to help cheer up the residents.
After recent studies have shown that introducing dogs into care home settings can help lift people’s mood and increase social interaction among the community, Abney Court Care Home in the Stockport town of Cheadle – which sits within the picturesque grounds of Abney Hall Park – has decided to host its very-own ‘Canine Café’ next week.
But in a bid to make sure there’s enough canine cuddles for all the residents, staff at the home are asking the public to bring their own four-legged friends down to the party.
Abney Court created the canine-themed event after being inspired by the positive impact previous animal visits have had on residents’ wellbeing in the past, and after hearing how much they missed the company of their own pets from their younger years.
Cheadle care home asks locals to take their dogs to its ‘Canine Café’ next week to cheer up residents / Credit: Care UK (via Facebook)
Taking place next Friday 8 March from 11am-12pm, Abney Court’s ‘Canine Café’ gives attendees the chance to enjoy loads of tasty puppy-themed treats and drinks, all while being in the company of furry friends.
Of course, all four-legged guests will be taken good care of too.
Not only will the pups be able to enjoy plenty of fuss from the home’s residents, but they’ll also get the opportunity to play with the other pooches, and be treated to their very-own ‘pup cake’ too.
There’ll also be lots of garden games and a raffle too, so everyone has a shot a winning a whole host of goodies to take home.
Inviting the Greater Manchester public down to the party next week, Amcia Hara, who is the Home Manager at Abney Court, said: “We are looking forward to inviting the local community to our Canine Café, as atudies have shown that introducing dogs into care homes can help lift people’s mood and increase social interaction.
“The human-animal bond is powerful in promoting self-esteem and wellbeing, which is exactly why we feel our Canine Café is set to be a brilliant event.
“Whether you have your own dog or simply an animal lover, we’d encourage you to come along to our event.”