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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S5W-35856
Asked by: Neil Findlay, Lothian, Scottish Labour
Date lodged: 9 March 2021


To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to a reported rise in levels of dog theft, and what action owners can take to prevent dog theft.

Current status: Answered by Ben Macpherson on 23 March 2021


The Scottish Government is dismayed by the reported rise in the theft of dogs and would encourage dog owners to report any concerns to Police Scotland, be extremely vigilant, ensure dogs are microchipped, and also report the loss/theft to the microchip database operators to ensure that if anyone attempts to re-register the microchip number, the rightful owner will be informed.

Dog theft is dealt with under the common law of theft. In any given case, courts have discretion in sentencing decisions to reflect the individual facts and circumstances of each case, with maximum penalties available all the way up to life imprisonment. In 2016 the Scottish Government made it compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped and for contact details to be kept up to date. This was to ensure the swift return of lost and stolen dogs. It is standard practice for enforcement agencies to scan dogs coming into their care.