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'Dogs should not be treated like mobile phones' - Dartford MP slams new sentencing guidelines for animal cruelty

PUBLISHED: 11:44 25 January 2017 | UPDATED: 11:49 25 January 2017

Gareth Johnson, Dartford Conservative MP

Gareth Johnson, Dartford Conservative MP

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Gareth Johnson believes sentencing leniency could give thieves 'a green light'

The latest wave of sentencing guidelines for animal cruelty will leave dog owners ‘bitterly disappointed’ according to one MP.

In its latest review, the sentencing council outlined how magistrates can best hand out sentences in regards to section four (unnecessary suffering), section eight (fighting etc), and section nine (breach of duty of person responsible for animal to ensure welfare) of the Animal Welfare Act.

All of the offences carry sentences of an unlimited fine and/or a six month prison sentence.

Dartford MP Gareth Johnson has been lobbying for a review of sentencing for anyone caught stealing dogs, and has expressed disappointment at the latest review.

“Victims of dog theft around the country will be bitterly disappointed that dogs will continue to be treated like property by the courts and not as pets.

“The Sentencing Council just doesn’t seem to get it. Dogs should not be treated by the courts like mobile phones or laptops.

“They had the perfect opportunity to rectify the situation, but have ducked it again.

“This failure of the Sentencing Council gives a green light to would-be dog thieves.

“I want to see changes to sentencing for dog theft, so it is classed more than just property theft. When people responsible are caught, convicted and sentenced appropriately this will act as a deterrent to others tempted to commit this cruel crime.

“To continue this fight, I am hosting a Dog Theft Awareness Day event on March 14, in the Houses of Parliament as part of my continued effort to try and raise awareness about this heartbreaking crime.”

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