The ‘growing and nasty’ issue of dog theft highlighted by Dartford MP Gareth Johnson in the House of Commons

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson has asked the Leader of the House of Commons to host a debate on the issue of Dog Theft in a bid to highlight the issue.

During Business of the House questions on Thursday, Mr Johnson said: “Each and every week across England and Wales some 80 dogs are stolen from their owners, causing huge distress to both the owners and the animals. During this Pet Theft Awareness Week, may we have a debate on what is a growing and nasty problem?”

In her reply, Leader of the House of Commons, Mrs Leadsom acknowledged Mr Johnson’s work to campaign on this growing problem and reaffirmed the Government’s pledge to continue the fight against this crime.

She said: “It is a terrible crime. Any theft of property can be very distressing for victims, but the suffering will be much greater when it is a family pet. I commend him for raising this issue.

The Government are very clear that when such a crime happens it must be reported to the police, whenever it happens, so that it can be investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice. He will know that the theft of a dog is a criminal offence under section 1 of the Theft Act 1968. We are determined to see it enforced.”

After the debate, Mr Johnson said: “I think it is important to debate this issue in the House of Commons as the anguish it causes to the victims is indescribable. The few offenders who are caught stealing dogs receive totally inadequate sentences as the Courts are forced to treat the offence as if it were the theft of normal property, this cannot be right and needs to change. Kent Police are very proactive on this issue but it is unfortunately a mixed picture around the country.”