Recently, the British government revealed that they plan to classify pet abduction as a criminal offense. It was part of the recommendations by a task force as dognapping and other pet thefts have increased amid the Covid19 pandemic.
The task force had representation from several facets of government. Officials, police, prosecutors, and law enforcement agencies alike are involved. Various experts from the fields of academics as well as animal welfare organizations provided helpful evidence.
According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the interest in owning pets has grown as lockdowns find people home for extended periods of time. This is the factor that is being pointed to as the cause for thieves taking an interest in dogs.
Within the last year alone, police received an estimated 2,000 reports of dog theft.
A report released by the task force recommended improving records of pet ownership. In the same vein, it asked that reliable data on pet thefts be kept and secured. In this way, “a stronger evidence base about the problem” could be formed.
In the same report, registering additional pet details was strongly recommended. A single access point for the roughly 16 microchipping databases was suggested.
Britain has undergone multiple lockdown periods since Covid19 first emerged. Over the passage of time, there was a spike in the price of certain dog breeds. In a number of cases, they nearly doubled, peaking at 89%.
Environment Secretary George Eustice released a statement that said, in part: “Pet owners shouldn’t have to live in fear, and I am pleased this report acknowledges the unique distress caused by this crime.”