Recently, it was announced that Secretary of State for the Home Department, Priti Patel MP, was reviewing sentencing for pet theft, a move backed by local campaigners and Maidstone and the Weald MP, Helen Grant.
MP Helen Grant says, "Theft of a pet causes great distress to animals and huge upset to owners, so we want to do all that we can to support authorities to stamp it out. Nationally, the responsible ministers are keeping under review the possibility of tougher sentences for those who perpetrate these awful acts, and we are encouraged by the recent comments from the Home Secretary, Priti Patel, saying she is looking into this possibility. In an upcoming meeting with the new Police Chief Inspector for Maidstone district, I will be requesting that he does everything possible to make it a priority for police officers."
Local councillors Louise Brice and Lottie Parfitt-Reid urge people to be vigilant in reporting any suspicious behaviour to the police via 101 or online: https://www.police.uk/pu/contact-the-police/seen-or-heard/. Owners can also follow advice provided by organisations, such as The Dogs Trust: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/news-events/issues-campaigns/dog-theft/, which include, securing property and knowing what to do if your pet goes missing.
Ward Borough Cllr for Staplehurst, Louise Brice says, "There is some good advice out there on what to do, like keeping your property secure and ensuring pets like dogs are trained to return, which I know most owners follow. From incidences happening locally, I believe many thefts are opportunistic and I hope that stronger sentencing will act as a deterrent."
Local Cllr for Coxheath and Hunton, Lottie Parfitt-Reid comments, "Theft of a dog or an animal is currently categorised in the same way as theft of a bicycle or a lawnmower. Pets are an irreplaceable part of our families and theft causes such heart break and loss way beyond that of an inanimate object which can be replaced.”