Bruce Forsyth's daughter shares relief over new dognapping law set to be introduced

Sir Bruce Forsyth’s daughter’s tireless campaign to criminalize pet abduction is finally paying off.

Debbie Matthews has been fighting to make dognapping a criminal offense since 2014 after her own dogs were stolen in 2006.

The 66-year-old was fortunate enough to be reunited with her two Yorkshire Terriers after a TV appeal at her father’s side.

But while her story has a happy ending, Debbie hasn’t given up the fight to help other pet owners get the justice they deserve.

READ MORE: The Woman’s Heartbreaking Efforts to Rescue the German Shepherd Puppy and Mother from the Abusive Home

A report released yesterday (September 2, 2021) by the government’s Pet Theft Taskforce will recognize animal welfare and recognize that pets are worth more than property.

The task force, made up of officials from Defra, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Justice, together with operational partners such as the police, border guards and local government, was launched in May this year. The report made recommendations such as:

  • The creation of a new pet abduction crime – Pet theft is currently treated as a loss of property for the owner, but we know this does not reflect the true gravity of this crime. The new offense will prioritize the welfare of our pets as sentient beings and recognize the emotional distress of the animal in addition to its owner.

  • Identify and track cases – Reliable data on pet theft are limited and improved recording and data collection on these crimes will provide a stronger evidence base for the problem.

  • Improve the collection of ownership and transfer data – New requirements for registering additional information and a central access point to microchip databases will support tracking of lost and stolen dogs.

  • Fighting the fear of crime – The police will work with partner organizations to raise awareness of police initiatives and preventive measures.


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The change in the law will be welcome news for pet owners as animal theft is not a specific crime. Currently, the Theft Act 1968 offense is considered a loss of property to owners.

Crimes under this law have a maximum duration of seven years, and ministers have admitted that there is insufficient evidence.

This is because the severity of the penalty depends in part on how much money the “item” is worth.

Debbie Matthews, CEO SAMPA and founder of Vets Get Scanning shared it Team dogs : “The Stolen And Missing Pets Alliance has been campaigning for tougher penalties for animal theft since 2014 and in 2018, Dr.

“Campaigns are tough, but worth every second if we get the results we all wanted! We therefore appreciate the recommendations of the government’s Pet Theft Taskforce.

“This would not have been possible without the help and support of so many – everyone who signed the petitions, emailed their MPs, created, shared or tweeted a missing pet post, the newspaper journalists, the television companies and the MPs, who carried out the campaign alive.

“Today is a really important day for families with dogs and cats.

“The new crime of ‘pet abduction’ is dedicated to all stolen dogs and cats with microchips that are still missing.”

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