- Gloucestershire Police and RSPCA Offices today recovered more than a dozen dogs from a site just outside Gloucester
- One man was arrested and inquiries are underway to discover who most of the animals belong to and whether any were due to be sold on the open market.
- It is the latest in a number of successful operations since Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl made tackling pet theft in Gloucestershire a policing priority
- Home Secretary Priti Patel is also now said to be considering upgrading pet theft to a more serious offence.
Gloucestershire Police and RSPCA officers today seized more than a dozen dogs on a site near Gloucester.
A mixture of breeds were seized by police. A number of other dogs were taken into the protection of RSPCA and council dog wardens.
The raid took place this morning. One man has been arrested and taken into custody for questioning.
It is not yet known whether some of the dogs were strays or waiting to be sold on the open market.
Inquiries are now underway to establish the animals’ rightful owners.
It is the latest in a number of successful ‘pet rescues’ since Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl added ‘A Compassionate Approach’ to his Police and Crime Plan priorities last September, which made tackling pet theft a priority.
The Constabulary also recognises domestic animals as sentient beings and distinct from property, which is the starting point for all such investigations.
Mr. Surl said, “The increase in pet theft has become one of the most distasteful elements of lockdown, which is why I made tackling it a priority when I updated my police and crime plan last year.
“As a dog owner, I know how much our pets mean to us. They are the focus of many families. Losing your pet at any time is heart-breaking but to lose your pet in such a callous manner without knowing what’s happened to it must be unbearable.
“The Chief Constable agrees with our ‘Compassionate Approach’ and I congratulate the Constabulary on this latest success”.
Latest intelligence shows that demand for dogs has increased during the pandemic, pushing up the cost of some puppies from £500 to £2,000. As a result, it is estimated thefts have risen by 250%, with criminal gangs involved.
It is reported that the Home Secretary Priti Patel is now considering upgrading pet theft to a more serious crime with much stiffer penalties. The maximum sentence is currently seven years in prison.