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Calls for tougher penalties after rise in dog thefts

Five dogs are stolen every day in the UK Photo: ITV Meridian
  • Watch Cary Johnston's full report below

Campaigners are calling for tougher penalties after a rise in dog thefts.

Across the last two years 167 dogs were recorded as stolen in the Thames Valley.

They are often sold to unscrupulous breeders or even used for illegal dog fights.

Five dogs are stolen every day in the UK.

Recently, two cocker Spaniels, named Lupin and Rocket, went missing near a golf course in Ascot leaving their owner desperate for their return.

Lupin and Rocket are feared stolen Credit: ITV Meridian

Dogs have been taken from gardens, houses, parks, kennels and even while out for a walk.

It has prompted a campaign led by the Stolen and Missing Pets Alliance, made up of dog welfare groups from around the UK.

The Alliance recently gathered more than 100,000 signatures, prompting a parliamentary debate on the issue.

Credit: ITV Meridian

The government says the theft of a pet is already a criminal offence with a maximum penalty of seven years imprisonment.

But campaigners say the law is not being implemented strongly enough.

Ensuring pets are wearing collars with up-to-date ID tags and having dogs and cats microchipped can help in the battle against pet-nappers. If you suspect your animal may have been stolen, please contact the police."

– RSPCA

Cary Johnston spoke to dog owner Janey Marsh, and Jayne Hayes from Doglost.co.uk