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Pets (Theft) Act 2020
#1
UNDER THE 10 MINUTE RULE, PRESENTED [SPEECH TO FOLLOW IN SUBSEQUENT POST]

A BILL TO Amend the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 to make the theft of pets an offence; to apply certain post-conviction powers under those Acts to such an offence; and for connected purposes. 

BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:— 

1 Amendment of the Animal Welfare Act 2006

(1) The Animal Welfare Act 2006 is amended as follows.

(2) After section 2 (“protected animal”) insert—

“2A “Pet:” A protected animal is a “pet” for the purposes of this Act if it provides companionship or assistance to any human being.” 

(3) After section 8 (fighting etc.) insert— 

“8A Pet theft: A person commits an offence if they dishonestly appropriate a pet belonging to another person with the intention of permanently depriving that other person of it.”

(4) In section 32 (imprisonment or fine) before subsection (1) insert— “(A1) A person guilty of an offence under section 8A (pet theft) shall be liable— 

(a) on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term for a term not exceeding 51 weeks, or a fine, or to both; (b) on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years, or to a fine, or to both. 

(A2) When the court is considering for the purposes of sentencing the seriousness of an offence under section 8A it must consider the following as aggravating factors (that is to say, a factor that increases the seriousness of the offence)— (a) the theft caused fear, alarm or distress to the pet, the owner or the pet or another person associated with the pet; (b) the theft was for the purposes of commercial gain.” 

2 Amendment of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 

(1) The Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 is amended as follows. 

(2) After section 17 (protected animals) insert— 

“17A “Pet” A protected animal is a “pet” for the purposes of this Act if it provides companionship or assistance to any human being.” 

(3) After section 23 (animal fights) insert— 
“23A Pet theft: A person commits an offence if they dishonestly appropriate a pet belonging to another person with the intention of permanently depriving that other person of it.” 

(4) In section 40 (disqualification orders) after subsection (13)(b) insert— 

“(ba) an offence under section 23A,”. 

(5) In section 46 (penalties for offences) after subsection (1) insert— 

“(1A) A person guilty of an offence under section 23A (pet theft) shall be liable— 

(a) on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term for a term not exceeding 51 weeks, or a fine, or to both; (b) on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years, or to a fine, or to both. 

(1B) When the court is considering for the purposes of sentencing the seriousness of an offence under section 23A it must consider the following as aggravating factors (that is to say, a factor that increases the seriousness of the offence)— (a) that theft caused fear, alarm or distress to the pet, the owner or the pet or another person associated with the pet; (b) the theft was for the purposes of commercial gain.” 

(6) In Schedule 1 (powers of inspectors and constables for Part 2) after paragraph 4(5)(a) insert— “(aa) an offence under section 23A,”.

3 Short title, commencement and extent 

(1) Section 1 extends to England and Wales only. 

(2) Section 2 extends to Scotland only. 

(3) This section comes into force on the day this Act is passed. 

(4) The other provisions of this Act come into force on such day as the Secretary of State may by regulations appoint. 

(5) The power to make regulations under subsection (5) is exercisable by statutory instrument. 

(6) The Secretary of State shall consult the Scottish Ministers before exercising the power under subsection (4) in connection with section 2.

(7) This Act may be cited as the Pets (Theft) Act 2020.

Ordered to be brought in by Daniel Brown, [assorted backbench MPs], with special thanks to Ross Thomson (OOC note: original author of the bill, with minor modifications by Brown).

Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed, 12 January 2020.

Mr. Speaker,

I'm greatly honoured today to rise to present my first bill before Parliament--a bill that I hope will obtain cross-party support to address a subject that is deeply distressing to so many of us in this great Kingdom. Pet Theft is on the rise here in the United Kingdom. Research from 2017 indicates that at least 5 dogs a day were stolen from their families--and we suspect that the real number of pets who are abducted from their loving homes every day is much higher.

Mr. Speaker, pets are an integral part of our family. No matter who we are, what our political beliefs are, what our creeds are, or any other item that may be used to identify the great diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds, and beliefs in our United Kingdom, we all share many loves---one of them being a love for our pets. To the majority of households throughout our United Kingdom, our pets are members of our family. When they are abducted from us, the pain is immense and the damage inflicted upon us and our communities is far greater than any ordinary theft. Why, then, does the law not give harsher penalties for those who would perpetrate such a terrible larceny on those we love--and those who are part of our family?

Mr. Speaker--this simple bill seeks to redress this wrongs of pet theft and make it clear that pet theft is no ordinary theft. This bill increases the maximum statutory sentence that a Court may give--while also giving the Courts great leeway to determine the proper sentence. The goal in this bill is not to create minimum sentences that will bind the hands of judges--but rather to empower judges to give stronger sentences when it is warranted.

I have always believed, Mr. Speaker, in the importance of our independent judiciary. Judges are usually in the best position to determine an appropriate sentence. This bill simply increases the range of options to judges in terms of sentencing.

Mr. Speaker, while this bill may seem to be on a minor topic to some, I can assure the House that it is deeply important to so many of our citizens. I hope that the House can come together in a cross-party fashion to pass this important, common-sense bill to protect our whole family to ensure that those who would seek to break up our beloved pets from us are liable to greater sentences than they would be for stealing our cycle. I ask the Government to give time to this important bill which I believe would pass the House with resounding cross-party support, and commend this bill to the House.
Daniel Brown
Conservative MP for Bosworth
Shadow Home Secretary
Traits: Constituency Appeal (+)/Media Darling (+)/Campaigning Guru (+)/Finite Resources (-)
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