During the coronavirus pandemic, demand for dogs as pets has increased. With some puppies advertised on Pets4Homes for as much as £3,000, they are a valuable commodity to criminals.
According to Dog Lost, the UK’s largest lost and found dog service, it is estimated thefts have risen by 250 per cent, with criminal gangs involved.
The issue of pet theft and how future enforcement may look, with potentially tougher penalties for perpetrators, is currently being reviewed by the Home Secretary.
The survey includes a question seeking views on whether companion animals should be treated in law as sentient beings, not merely as property.
The public’s responses will help inform discussions that Police and Crime Commissioners will have on this issue nationally and how they might improve their response to these concerns.
Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner, Martyn Underhill, said, “As an animal lover, I understand the close emotional bonds people develop with their pets and how distressing this crime must be to victims.
“I know many dog lovers regard their pet as a friend or family member, not merely as property, and this survey looks into whether that should be recognised in law.
“It will help policy makers understand the experiences of dog owners who have had their pets stolen and assess the level of support for creating harsher punishments. I urge anyone who cares about this issue to complete the survey.”
The 60-second survey will be open until 5pm on Friday 12 March at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/dogtheft
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