Sheffield MP calls for harsher sentences for dog thieves after spate of thefts during lockdown
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Mr Betts was speaking in Parliament after writing to the Home Secretary earlier this year about the ‘disturbing’ increase in attempts to steal dogs from their owners and families during the coronavirus lockdowns.
South Yorkshire Police recently revealed that 63 such thefts have taken place since last July and The Star has reported on dozens of such cases since last March.
In February, three puppies – two Cane Corsos and a Rottweiler – were stolen at gun point in Burngreave while another four pups were stolen from a flat on Smelter Wood Road in Richmond the very same day.
Commenting on the issue, Clive Betts, MP for Sheffield South East, said: “Lockdown has seen a worrying increase in dog thefts that the existing laws do not take seriously enough.
"A dog is a sentient being, and part of a loving family, not just a piece of property with an owner.
"Currently the punishment for stealing dogs does not reflect the harm it causes, both on the animal and its family.”
“Despite this the Government are still slow to act on this issue, and I worry it will take far more dog thefts for them to recognise the seriousness of the problem, and the current outdated punishment that is not fit for purpose.”
South Yorkshire Police have recently shared advice owners can use to protect themselves against becoming a victim of dog theft.
The advice can be accessed at www.southyorks.police.uk/find-out/news-and-appeals/2021/march-2021/dog-theft-in-south-yorkshire.