Right now in Scotland, the law says dogs are just things. Stealing one is no different to stealing a mobile phone.
I think that is just plain wrong. So, I am introducing a new law to change that and tackle dog theft in Scotland. And I need your help to get it over the line.
Because dogs are classified as objects, the data on dog theft is very poor. But one recent estimate suggests it has skyrocketed by 170% during lockdown – as demand for pets increased amongst lonely people stuck inside their homes.
My new law will help deal with that surge in dog thefts – it will help catch and punish the criminals responsible, improve the data we have to prevent future theft and make sure dogs the law recognises dogs as living beings. And hopefully, we might even be able to help reunite more owners with their beloved pets.
I am so grateful for all the support that has come in so far. Including from MSPs of all parties in Holyrood. I have also been delighted to see some of the country’s leading animal welfare organisations come out in support – the Scottish SPCA, Dogs Trust, the Kennel Club, Blue Cross and the Edinburgh Cat & Dog Home. Most of all, I have been immensely encouraged by the public’s support.
I have now launched a consultation paper for a proposed Dog Abduction (Scotland) Bill. I would encourage as many as possible to contribute to the consultation to ensure this legislation is as strong as possible to protect Scotland’s dogs.
Please click here to access the consultation document.