Dog theft: Thousands sign petition calling for tougher sentences for dog snatching
Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for longer sentences for people convicted of dog theft.
Animal welfare charities have welcomed a move by the Government to crack down on the “despicable” crime, with a new pet theft taskforce set to investigate a rise in snatchings across the UK.
Figures obtained through a freedom of information request by RADAR reveal West Yorkshire Police recorded 138 dog thefts in the year ending March 31.
That was up slightly from 137 the previous year, but below the level seen in 2016-17, when 185 thefts were reported to the force.
Of the thefts reported in the latest 12-month period, the largest number – 21 – happened in March.
The figures cover the number of dog thefts reported to police, but not the number of animals stolen.
Nationally, at least 1,791 offences were recorded in 2020-21 by the 31 forces in England and Wales which provided comparable figures, an 11 per cent rise on 1,612 in 2019-20.
The national figure excludes data from South Yorkshire Police for March this year.
Thousands of people have signed a petition calling for a change in the law.
The Dogs Trust said: “We would like to see tougher penalties to act as a deterrent to pet thieves, pet theft treated as a specific crime that reflects the emotional trauma it causes and more accurate recording of incidents by the police so we can ascertain the scale of the problem.”