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Dog theft: Parliament to debate proposals to facilitate the search for stolen animals | UK News

For seven years, Gerald McCarthy’s dog, Molly, helped him cope with the sudden death of his wife.

But one February morning, Molly was torn from her garden as the 70-year-old briefly entered the house to set the kettle on.

“She was an integral part of my life,” he says.

“Firstly when I finished working everyday, I wanted to come home for Molly. And all my days revolved around taking care of Molly.”

Gerald McCarthy
Gerald McCarthy’s Bitch Molly Helped Him Cope With His Wife’s Sudden Death
Gerald McCarthy's Bitch Molly Helped Him Cope With His Wife's Sudden Death
Molly was pulled from a garden in February and did not return

But legally pets are classified as property, so when they are taken it is no different than a stolen bicycle or laptop.

Many say it doesn’t reflect the emotional connection between pets and their owners, and a petition to make dog theft a specific offense, with a two-year minimum sentence, has raised more than half a million signatures.

Katy Stickley’s dog, Trigger, was also taken from his backyard, but police accidentally found him eight months later and brought him home.

She says when he disappeared, it was as if one of her children had disappeared.

Katy Stickley's dog Trigger has also been taken from her garden
Katy Stickley’s dog Trigger was also taken from her yard – but was returned by police eight months later

“It should be classified as a kidnapping because it is a living person,” Ms Stickley said. “Even though he’s not a human, he’s still alive and still family.”

On Monday, parliament will debate proposals that could make it easier for stolen pets to reunite with their rightful owners, such as making microchip scanning mandatory for vets, as opposed to optional.

And some MPs, like Labor’s Alex Cunningham, support stronger deterrents for dog thieves.

MPs like Labor's Alex Cunningham support stronger deterrents for dog thieves
Alex Cunningham of Labor says current legislation is not strong enough

“The current legislation …

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This notice was published: 2021-06-27 02:45:00

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