by Sarah Lee

This week is Pet Theft Awareness Week 2023 and it has never been more important in Scotland to talk about it than right now. Dog theft in Scotland has risen significantly in recent years, with the North East seeing a 700% rise on the previous year, making the region a hotspot for pets being stolen to then be sold on for cash. 

We are welcoming new government plans that aim to crack down on the increasing number of reported pet thefts and introduce a new criminal offence for pet abduction, which will highlight the welfare of animals and acknowledge that pets are valued as more than property. 

Pet theft is a cruel crime and becoming increasingly prevalent, with owners being left bereft when members of their families are taken. Currenlty in Scotland, the abduction of a dog comes under the common law offence of theft, which can be defined in broad terms as theft when a person has taken and kept property without the consent of the rightful owner. In addition, it must be clear that the person who took the property did so with the intention of depriving the person who is the rightful owner.

Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance, Jake Swindells said: “This is a welcome step towards tackling this dreadful crime. The welfare of the animal is paramount so the introduction of this new offence should be a strong deterrent to the criminals who perpetuate these unacceptable offences.”

This new Bill will bring dog theft into line with England and Wales and will be a welcome step in tackling this cruel crime. 

You can read our advice on preventing dog theft here.

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