Brecon and Radnorshire’s Member of Parliament and the Conservative Candidate for the Senedd elections have spoken of their concerns amid a shocking increase of dog thefts across the UK.
There have been a number of worrying incidents locally, with Dyfed-Powys Police and South Wales Police making arrests and recovering up to 80 suspected stolen dogs from multiple addresses in January. There have also been reports that dog thieves have recently attempted to pose as RSPCA workers to take dogs under the pretence of investigating their welfare.
With many of us spending more time at home than ever before due to coronavirus restrictions, demand for dogs has increased, causing their monetary value to sky-rocket. This surge in the demand for “man’s best friend” is thought to have fuelled an estimated 250% increase in dog thefts.
The Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP said in a recent interview with LBC that she was “building up” the case for making pet theft into a serious offence and looking into what kind of measures can be put in place in terms of criminality.
Although animal welfare is devolved, existing legislation already covers the criminal offence of pet theft and the Welsh Government has agreed to the UK Parliament legislating for England and Wales in relation to new, ongoing animal cruelty legislation.
Advice on putting preventative measures in place to stop pet theft can be found on the RSCPA website here: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/theft.
Fay Jones, Member of Parliament for Brecon and Radnorshire said:
“I am sure I am not alone in considering my dog, Nancy to be a cherished member of the family – if anything was to happen to her, it would be incredibly distressing.
“With this emotional attachment in mind, the theft of a much-loved pet can only be described as a particularly vicious and hurtful crime.
“While the theft of a pet is already a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968, I welcome the Home Secretary’s commitment to review further measures to tackle this explosion of dognapping. In the meantime, I am committed to working with Dyfed Powys Police to tackle this scourge on our community.
“We must ensure we are doing all we can to prevent pet theft for the safety and wellbeing of pets and owners alike.”
Cllr James Evans, Conservative Candidate for Brecon and Radnorshire in the 2021 Senedd Elections said:
"I am very pleased that the Home Secretary is looking to tighten the laws around pet theft. People are getting too scared to walk their dog due to fear of being attacked.
“There must be a strong deterrent to protect our pets from organised crime gangs who are trying to make money out of our beloved pets.”