MSP hopes for specific crime against stealing dogs despite existence of ‘theft’

MSP hopes for specific crime against stealing dogs despite existence of 'theft'

An MSP has launched a consultation on creating a specific crime of stealing dogs in Scotland, even though doing so is already a crime.

Scottish Conservative MSP Maurice Golden’s plans would see anyone convicted of stealing a dog face up to five years in prison, even though there is no such limit under the law as it stands.

He said that the sentences would deter criminals and reassure owners and would require police to record dog abductions separately from property theft, though it is unclear why.

Detailing a fact of Scots property law, he said: “The current law treats dogs as inanimate objects like mobile phones.”

He claimed that his law would “ensure that dogs are treated as the family pets” and also “recognise the trauma which families and dog owners face when their dog is stolen”.

Mr Golden believes that the provision for considering the impact on victims under the current law is insufficient in the case of dogs. He said he is “far from convinced, including due to a distinct lack of accurate data, that the impact on the victim is being taken into account”. It is not made clear how the absence of such data could allow him to make the positive inference that the impact on victims is not being taken into account.

He added that he is “sure” that “the impact on the dog is not being taken into account under the existing law in Scotland”.

He said: “My bill would help the police identify where criminal activity is taking place. We know anecdotally dogs are stolen to be put into puppy farms, to then sell those puppies on.

“I think there also needs to be work done in terms of controlling the borders, particularly in places like Cairnryan, ensuring that unscrupulous dog breeders cannot enter into Scotland and, indeed, to the rest of the United Kingdom.”

Lindsay Fyffe-Jardine, chief executive of the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home, said: “We’re delighted to see such a big step forward in the protection of dogs with this dog theft bill. At the home, we wholeheartedly support this and hope this will bring real change to such a senseless crime that is ever growing in our communities.”

Scottish Legal News reported recently that the Scottish Parliament had accepted a petition contrary to its own Standing Orders and refused to remove it when notified.

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