A local MP has urged colleagues to back him in his battle to change pet theft laws.
In an event hosted by the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance, Aberdeen South MP Ross Thomson proposed his bill to change the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Animal Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 to create a new, separate criminal offence of pet theft.
At present, pets are treated as possessions in UK law, making it no different from any other inanimate object that is stolen, such as a TV or a car.
Mr Thomson said: “We are well known as a nation of pet lovers, and for many people, it can be hard to comprehend the impact that losing a pet can truly have.”
“I am pleased that so many parliamentary colleagues turned out at this event to highlight the issue of pet theft.
“I hope that we will soon see the change in the law that is required to make this a criminal offence in its own right.”
Recent findings published by Direct Line Pet Insurance, using UK police statistics, show an upward trend in pet thefts in recent years, with a 14% rise in 2016 and a further 6.8% increase in 2017.
The Bill will now pass to the committee stage, at which point MPs will examine the amended legislation, before it goes to the third reading before it can become law.
Mr Thomson has won cross-party backing for his bill, which has also been supported by leading animal welfare charities.