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3:20 PM 27th May 2024
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Pet Abduction Bill Becomes Law

 
Abducting a pet will now become a criminal offence after the Pet Abduction Bill received Royal Assent.

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.

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.