Yesterday, Gedling’s Member of Parliament, Tom Randall MP, asked the Secretary of State for Justice to ensure the emotional suffering caused to Gedling residents by the theft of a pet is reflected in the sentencing for those who break a new law.
During Justice Questions, Tom said: “I thank [the Lord Chancellor] for his work on bringing criminals to book with the much needed criminal offence of pet theft.”
Tom went on to ask: “Does he agree that it is important that the sentence for this offence, when determined, will reflect the unique emotional suffering caused by the theft of a beloved pet, and will he ensure that that is reflected?”
The Lord Chancellor replied: “The use of the term “abduction” is a crucial reflection of the fact that these are sentient beings; they are not mere chattels or goods. The emotional effect both on the pets and their owners has to be taken into account. I think there is a read-across to animal cruelty and the important reforms that we made recently in increasing maximum sentences.”
Speaking after Justice Questions, Tom said, “Pets are beloved members of the family and criminals should face the consequences for pet theft. Like many Gedling residents, I was delighted that the Pet Theft Taskforce, launched by Government, formally recommended a new criminal offence for pet abduction which will recognise the welfare of animals and that pets are valued as more than property. This will help to protect the safety of our pets across Gedling and keep them with their families, where they belong.
“I understand why Gedling residents who contact me about pet theft feel so strongly about this and I am pleased that the Lord Chancellor agrees with me that this emotion of pets and their owners has to be taken into account when courts are sentencing pet thieves.”