Abducting a pet is now a criminal offence after Pet Abduction Bill becomes law - The Droitwich Standard

Abducting a pet is now a criminal offence after Pet Abduction Bill becomes law

Droitwich Editorial 28th May, 2024   0

Abducting a pet is now a criminal offence after the Pet Abduction Bill received Royal Assent on Friday (24 May).

Under the Pet Abduction Act 2024 – which was a Private Members’ Bill sponsored by Anna Firth MP and Lord Black of Brentwood and supported by the Government – anyone found guilty of stealing a pet in England or Northern Ireland will face up to five years in prison, a fine, or both.

The new law recognises that cats and dogs are not inanimate objects but sentient beings capable of experiencing distress and other emotional trauma when they are stolen from their owners or keepers.

Evidence from the Pet Theft Taskforce suggests around 2,000 dog and over 400 cat theft crimes were reported to police in 2020, causing considerable distress for owners and their pets alike. With an estimated 28% of UK adults owning a dog and 24% owning a cat, pet theft is a major concern to the public.

The RSPCA said:

“We’re thrilled the Pet Abduction Bill has successfully passed all stages in Parliament and will now become law! Pets are truly part of the family, and we’re delighted to see this crucial legislation pass.”

Support for the Act builds upon wider action to protect pets from theft, including making the microchipping of cats compulsory from 10 June 2024. This makes it easier for lost, stray or stolen pets to be reunited with their owners and returned home safely.

From 10 June 2024, cats in England will need to be microchipped and registered on a database by the time they’re 20 weeks old.

You can be fined up to £500 if your dog or cat is not microchipped when they need to be. Click here to find out more



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