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England plans to introduce new laws to halt rising trend in animal theft

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By Philip Andrew Churm
England plans to introduce new laws to halt rising trend in animal theft
Copyright  AP Horizons
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Two-year-old Tina is a French bulldog.

She was stolen from her owner's car in England in May 2021.

She is just one of many examples of pets being stolen from their owners in the UK to supply a lucrative trend in which animals are sold on, often for high prices.

About 2,000 dog thefts were reported in 2020 according to the pet theft taskforce, and 70 per cent of animal thefts involved dogs.

But pet theft is currently treated as a loss of property. However that could soon change.

Lawmakers in England want to create a new type of offence which would recognise animal companions as sentient beings.

George Eustice MP, U.K. Environment Secretary said: "What we're doing today is recognising that, creating a specific offence of pet abduction. I think it'll make it easier for us to record this crime, keep track of it and it'll also be easier to prosecute it as well."

According to one major charity, the Dogs Trust, the price of the most popular dog breeds rose by nearly 90 per cent during the first lockdown.

And this market trend might have encouraged thieves to act.

But the government hopes to stop them with this new criminal offence.

Meanwhile, Tina's owner, Patrycja Kowalczyk, hopes the authorities will act to stop such crimes and avoid the emotional distress caused by the loss of a pet.