To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of pet thefts resulted in a prosecution being brought in each of the last 10 years.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many offenders were sentenced to four years or more for the theft of a pet in each of the last 10 years.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what proportion of offenders found guilty of the theft of a pet received a custodial sentence in each of the last 10 years.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what the average fine given to an offender guilty of pet theft was in each of the last 10 years.
The government recognises the deep distress which the theft of a much-loved pet can cause. All reported crimes should be investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences. Theft is a criminal offence under the Theft Act 1968 and the maximum penalty is seven years’ imprisonment. The sentencing guidelines for theft, acknowledge that theft which causes emotional distress, or where the items stolen were of substantial value to the loser, regardless of monetary worth, will indicate a higher level of seriousness and the offender should be sentenced accordingly.
There are a range of offences under the Theft Act 1968 which could relate to the theft of a pet depending on the individual circumstances of the case. Centrally held information on theft offences does not identify if a pet specifically was stolen. The information may be held on court record but to be able to identify cases in which pets were stolen would require access to individual court records which would be of disproportionate cost.