Now in its fourth year, Pet Theft Awareness Week will be promoting the use of technology in helping to prevent pet theft and to find stolen pets.
In particular, dog theft is increasing 14% year on year, and the authorities continue to defy public opinion to introduce stiffer penalties, so prevention awareness is becoming more and more important.
Pet Theft Awareness and DogLost are members of SAMPA, the Stolen and Missing Pet Alliance, and in June 2014 the Alliance submitted a recommendation to the Sentencing Council that a pet be categorised as ‘theft of a pet’ and that there be a difference between an inanimate object and a valued living possession. SAMPA also requested that working within the existing framework, a custodial sentence of a minimum of six weeks could be introduced.
The new Sentencing Council guidelines were introduced on 1stFebruary this year and SAMPA is very disappointed that its recommendations were not accepted and the status quo remains.
Nik Oakley, spokesperson for SAMPA and DogLost said, “In spite of much lobbying, and intervention by Neil Parish MP, past Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Animal Welfare, we were unable to persuade the Justices to accept our point of view. We will continue our fight and were delighted that the matter was brought to the House of Commons last week by Gareth Johnson MP”
Using social media and a series of graphics this week, Pet Theft Awareness will be highlighting the need for pet owners to be vigilant and install some inexpensive but efficient equipment to help keep an eye on their animals.
“While we wait for tougher penalties,”says Richard Jordan of VioVet and co founder of Pet Theft Awareness, “we are urging pet owners to use all the technology that is available to them as the onus remains firmly with them to protect their pets”.