Paw patrol: Call for Wales to follow England’s lead on pet theft law
The Welsh Conservatives have called on the Welsh Government to allow a new law on pet theft in England to come into power in Wales.
Stealing a pet is not a specific crime and under the Theft Act 1968 it is currently considered as a loss of property to owners. But UK Government ministers want to change the law so it reflects the severity of the pet thieves’ crimes by considering the emotional distress it can cause.
The proposal is one of several recommendations made in a report which sets out the findings of work by the UK Government’s pet theft taskforce.
The report said: “There is growing public feeling that criminal law and the sentencing for offences involving the theft of pets do not sufficiently recognise an animal as something more than mere property.
“We are aware of the calls from some campaigners to recognise that animals are different from inanimate objects through the creation of a new criminal offence, or through a change to sentencing practice.”
According to the Welsh Conservatives, the Welsh Government should ask the British Government to include Wales in plans to change the law to ensure that pet abduction is considered a dedicated criminal offence.
With the change only occurring in England, Wales’ Shadow Rural Affairs Minister has said the Welsh Government should urgently contact the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs so that is can also be adopted in Wales.
“Its great news that British ministers are looking to make this change as it truly reflects the trauma caused by the abduction of a pet,” Welsh Conservative Samuel Kurtz MS said. “Our pets are considered a part of the family and can have a horrible effect on us, particularly children and vulnerable people.
“Given the widespread and cross-party support this change will very likely have, there should be no reason why it would stop at the border.
“Rather than take up the valuable parliamentary time new legislation will take up in what Labour already call an overworked Senedd, their ministers should ask to be involved the drafting process in London, allowing for simple adoption in Wales through a consent motion in the Senedd.
“This way, those in Wales will not be disadvantaged compared to those in England, Welsh Government officials can still input into the process, and the Senedd can continue to work on other important matters without missing out on a much desired law change.”