The Kennel Club has welcomed a consultation, launched by Maurice Golden, MSP for North East Scotland, to introduce a specific criminal offence for dog theft, and is urging the public to respond to ensure their views are heard.
The proposed Dog Abduction (Scotland) Bill aims to create a new statutory offence to tackle the problem of dog theft, and other situations where a dog is taken or kept without lawful authority. It would take account of considerations such as the feelings of dogs and dog welfare, as well as improving data recording to better inform detection and prevention efforts.
Currently in Scotland, the abduction of a dog is often treated in the same way as the theft of a household commodity such as a mobile phone, due to the unnecessary weighting on the monetary value rather than the emotional impact of the crime.
The Kennel Club has long campaigned on the issue of pet theft, lobbying for sentencing to recognise the emotional value of a dog and for better reporting and recording from officials so that underlying causes of dog theft can be tackled. The Kennel Club’s Paw and Order campaign, which launched during the pandemic, subsequently illustrated the need for reform and spurred thousands of dog lovers to share their views.
Dr Ed Hayes, Head of Public Affairs at The Kennel Club, said: “Dogs are such an important and valued member of the family, and we wholeheartedly welcome this consultation, which we believe is integral for helping to safeguard the nation’s much-loved pets.
“Last year, the UK Government announced plans to introduce a specific criminal offence for those who steal dogs across England and Wales, and this proposed Bill is an important opportunity for Scotland to follow suit and make a necessary step forward for dog welfare. Therefore, we urge the public to respond to the consultation to ensure their views and concerns are represented and the safety of dogs in Scotland is better protected.”
More information regarding the proposed Dog Abduction (Scotland) Bill is available via https://www.parliament.scot/bills-and-laws/proposals-for-bills/proposed-dog-abduction-scotland-bill. The consultation runs until Monday 16 January 2023, and can be found by visiting www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/DogAbduction/
Further information on The Kennel Club’s Paw and Order campaign, including a pet theft template letter that can be sent to your elected representative, is available on The Kennel Club website via thekennelclub.org.uk/dogtheft.