Over the last year there has been 2,000 pets stolen and Ministers are set to introduce a new law making it criminal offence steal dogs.
Under the new offence judges can impose prison sentences of up to seven years which will recognise the animals welfare and suffering and not just their financial value.
The Environment Secretary George Eustice wrote in The Telegraph said the new change will now allow the courts to apply the full force of the law to dog thieves.
He said this will, “stop the criminals in their tracks and give peace of mind to pet owners.
“We are a nation of pet lovers. Pets are members of the family in households up and down the country, and reports of a rise in pet theft have been worrying. The new offence will reflect the fact that pets are not just property that can be replaced.”
Eustice added, “The new offence will mean longer sentences and allows for an animal cruelty element to be incorporated which isn’t possible under theft.”
A government source said, “The new offence will mean longer sentences and allows for an animal cruelty element to be incorporated which isn’t possible under theft.”
Police are going to pilot a dog DNA database as microchips can be removed making it difficult to trace the owners of dogs.