Somerset couple say law change is essential to recognise pets as family members

  • Watch Ben McGrail's report


A Somerset couple say a law change to class dogs as part of a family rather than as possessions can’t come soon enough.

Marika Mossman and Jamie Bennett believe their Sprocker Spaniel, Scott, was stolen from near their home in West Bagborough, near Taunton, on September 23 2021.

They have offered a reward for his safe return and have received widespread support on social media to try and find him.

Dognapping cases have soared since the start of the Covid pandemic, with many more people wanting pets.

A new crime of pet abduction has been announced by the Government.

> 'He's home, our baby!' - owner reunited with puppy stolen in Gloucestershire

> Tougher sentences for pet thieves part of 'crackdown' on 'heart breaking' crime

Scott disappeared while on a walk and his owners are convinced that because of how well he knew the area, and how extensively people searched for him, that he was stolen.

Mr Bennett said: “We assumed originally that he was trapped in woodlands nearby, so we had the whole neighbourhood looking for Scott in these woodlands.”

Miss Mossman said: “In the first few days we had 300 and something people, that we know of, out looking for him.”

Dog thefts of breeds have soared since the pandemic. Marika and Jamie say the new law of pet abduction is long overdue.

Marika said: “They just don't see them as a family member. They don't see them as someone and trying to prove that someone has taken your dog is nigh on impossible.

“The law needs to change so that they can actually show that they are a person, a family member, a massive part of your life.”

Scott's owner, Marika Mossman, believes he was stolen as demand for certain dog breeds has increased Credit: Marika Mossman

“He would be a big part of Christmas, we'd always go for a dog walk around the local area. If not, we would take him for a walk with our grandparents," Jamie added.

Marika said: “When you lose a pet through death, then they're gone. Whereas this just gets worse because there's no closure and there's no grief. I don't think that I've been given the opportunity to grieve. We haven't been able to just stop and just feel sad about it.”