The UK’s biggest cat charity Cats Protection has welcomed the Pet Abduction Bill, following its second reading today.
The charity says the Private Members Bill – proposed by Anna Firth MP – would give cats and their owners greater protection in law and help prevent pet theft.
In particular, the proposals would help tackle the backstreet market in purebred cats and kittens, driven by a growing demand for pedigrees.
Cats Protection’s Senior Advocacy & Government Relations Officer Annabel Berdy said: “No matter what the animal, pet abduction is a particularly abhorrent crime, leaving owners devastated and pets at high risk of mistreatment. Most cat owners share a deep emotional bond with their pet and consider them part of the family. When cats are stolen, it rips that companionship away, and leaves owners living with the nightmare of not knowing how their cat is being treated or if they’ll ever be reunited.
“More than 40% of all cats obtained in the last 12 months were pedigree, and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by those who want to profit in animal trade at any cost. These unscrupulous sellers will be looking to profit either by selling stolen cats to unsuspecting buyers, or keeping them to breed kittens for onward sale. Clearly, we are incredibly concerned about the welfare of these cats and kittens and this proposed law has the potential to be a much-needed deterrent to stamp out this market.
“We look forward to continuing to work with other animal charities and politicians to help push this Bill forward and bring about better protections for pet owners and pets alike.”
Cats Protection is the UK’s leading feline welfare charity and has helped an average of 157,000 cats and kittens a year over the last five years through its national network which includes around 210 volunteer-run branches and 34 centres.