Dartford MP says new sentencing guidelines will ‘bitterly disappoint’ victims of dog theft


Dartford MP Gareth Johnson has criticised the Sentencing Council for failing to include guidelines for dog theft in its latest review.

Yesterday, new guidelines were set out for magistrates’ courts in England and Wales for a range of offences including animal cruelty, some driving offences and TV Licence evasion.

Mr Johnson, who has been lobbying for a review of sentencing guidelines for dog theft, said: “Victims of dog theft around the country will be bitterly disappointed that dogs will continue to be treated like property by the courts and not as pets.

The Sentencing Council just don’t seem to get it. Dogs should not be treated by the courts like mobile phones or lap tops. They had the perfect opportunity to rectify the situation but have ducked it again. This failure of the Sentencing Council gives a green light to would-be dog thieves.

I want to see changes to sentencing for dog theft, so it is classed more than just property theft. When people responsible are caught, convicted and sentenced appropriately this will act as a deterrent to others tempted to commit this cruel crime.

To continue this fight, I am hosting a Dog Theft Awareness Day event on March 14th, in the Houses of Parliament as part of my continued effort to try and raise awareness about this heartbreaking crime.”