Dog thefts have increased across the Humberside Police force area, new figures show
More dogs were reported stolen in this region last year, figures reveal, amid an apparent rise in dognappings nationally.
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 Humberside Police recorded 45 dog thefts in the year ending March 31. That was up from 39 the previous year, but below the level seen in 2018-19, when 46 thefts were reported.
Of the thefts reported in the latest 12-month period, the largest number – seven – happened in August 2020.
The figures cover the number of dog thefts reported to police, but not the number of animals stolen.
Sales platforms have seen a “considerable rise” in puppy and kitten prices over the last year as more people look to buy or adopt during the pandemic.
A petition calling on the Government to make dog theft a specific offence had garnered 316,500 signatures by its deadline on Thursday, May 20, meaning it is well over the threshold to be considered for debate in parliament.
Around 25,600 people across Yorkshire and The Humber have contributed their signature to the cause.
The petition is calling for dog theft to carry an eight-year minimum sentence and a fine of at least £5,000.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is considering tougher sentencing for the crime, which could see dog thieves prosecuted under animal welfare laws instead of the Theft Act 1968,.
The Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance, which has long campaigned for reform of laws around pet theft, said it is pleased the issue “is being taken seriously”.
CEO Debbie Matthews said: “Our pets are priceless, irreplaceable members of our families and the law should reflect this.
“Parliament must make the changes needed and make pet theft a specific offence in its own right, to give the courts access to appropriate custodial sentences to act as a deterrent, provide punishment and protect the public and their precious pets.”