Government commits to cracking down on pet theft and puppy smuggling | TeamDogs
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Government commits to cracking down on pet theft and puppy smuggling

Queen’s Speech set out plans for animal welfare reforms

Danielle Elton

Posted 4 months ago ago

As doting dog owners, we couldn’t help but follow the reports of dog thefts being on the rise - it’s a truly terrifying thought.

With the surge in those wanting a dog during lockdown, this has unfortunately led to an increase in dogs being stolen by those wanting to cash in on the demand.

Puppy smuggling has been another worrying issue, especially as spending more time at home meant many of us now had the time for the work that comes with owning a pup.

But yesterday (May 11), the Queen’s Speech outlined the Government’s commitment in tackling these crimes.

Outlining what is on the agenda for the new Parliament, the Queen said: “Legislation will also be brought forward to ensure the United Kingdom has, and promotes, the highest standards of animal welfare.”

The plan states that one of the main benefits would be ‘recognising the importance of pets to people’s lives and cracking down on pet theft and improving the operation of microchipping practices’.

Chris Jackson/PA Wire

The plan is for the Kept Animals Bill to increase protection for pets and to crack down on puppy smuggling, as well as improving standards in zoos and bringing in more effective measures to reduce livestock worrying.

The Government plans to continue in its efforts to educate the public on how to buy dogs responsibly through its National ‘Petfished’ Communications Campaign and a newly-created cross-Government taskforce will focus on tackling pet theft.

The Government will also review the operation of the current microchip databases with a view to introducing improvements.

Today (May 12), the Government published it’s Action Plan for Animal Welfare.

Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, said: “Since 2010 we have achieved remarkable things in animal welfare… but we are going to go further. 

“Our manifesto was clear that high standards of animal welfare are one of the hallmarks of a civilised society. We have a long tradition of protecting animals and that will continue – and we will continue to support such efforts overseas.”

The Government’s focus on animal welfare comes following a coalition of 50 animal welfare charities known as ‘Act Now For Animals’.

Some of the charities involved include Dogs Trust, RSPCA, PDSA and Battersea.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, RSPCA CEO Chris Sherwood said: “The proposals in that plan to tackle puppy smuggling are really welcomed and important. We’ve seen a massive rise in demand for puppies over the pandemic and, you know, there’s some loopholes there that the Government in their proposals is looking to close.

“One of those is to raise the age of which a puppy can be commercially imported into the UK from 15 weeks. We’d like to see that rise to six months.”

He later added: “It’s going to take a lot of action by a lot of different agencies to tackle puppy smuggling but there are some good proposals in the Government's action plan today.”

Commenting on the proposals on its website, Dogs Trust wrote: “For over six years we’ve been tirelessly lobbying the Government to tackle the cruel puppy smuggling trade. During that time, we’ve rescued thousands of illegally imported puppies who’ve had the most traumatic start to their young lives and have come into our care in horrific conditions. 

“The promises in this plan are a real win for dog welfare, but our work isn’t done yet. We’ll continue to work closely with the Government to be the voice for innocent puppies and ensure the proposed legislation effects real change for dogs.”

These latest animal welfare reforms are the latest in the Government’s work in protecting our animals with it recently increasing the maximum sentence for animal abusers from six months to five years under what is known as Finn’s Law Part 2.

This is work that the Government intends to continue with the plan said to be putting animal sentencing ‘at the heart of the policy making and strengthening the penalties for those who abuse animals’.

If you’re worried about dog theft, there are some excellent gadgets on the market that can help protect your dog.

Products include these GPS trackers which allow you to monitor your dog’s location 24/7 using an app on your phone.

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