DUP's Little-Pengelly wants law to get tougher on pet thefts
A DUP MP's bid for tougher sentencing for pet thieves stands little chance of becoming law in Northern Ireland.
Emma Little-Pengelly said that since 2011, more than 960 dogs and cats have been reported stolen in Northern Ireland.
Yesterday, the South Belfast MP co-sponsored a Ten Minute Rule Bill to introduce new and enhanced sentencing for pet theft.
However, justice matters are devolved and the legislation would not apply here. Bills introduced in this way rarely become law anyway.
In March, Labour MP Conor McGinn failed to introduce a same-sex marriage Bill for Northern Ireland using the Ten Minute Rule. The DUP opposed the move, saying it was devolved.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Ms Little-Pengelly said: "Every year, hundreds of much-loved pets are stolen from homes and gardens across the United Kingdom.
"Pets are stolen for breeding, selling on and even, tragically, for illegal fighting or baiting.
"The loss of a pet can be incredibly sad for many, where in most cases the animal is very much part of the home and family."
Ms Little-Pengelly said the current law does not adequately deal with the offence, "treating pets as little different than stolen possessions where they are given a value and the offence treated in accordance with this monetary value".
"This proposed Bill would make the theft of a pet a specific criminal offence to be punished accordingly. I am pleased to be able to be one of the co-sponsors of this legislation."