BORDERS MSP Rachael Hamilton is backing plans to introduce a law to tackle dog thefts.

Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture of Scotland Maurice Golden has launched a consultation on his proposed Members’ Bill which would make stealing a dog a crime in its own right.

If successful, the new law would not only increase punishments for those found guilty of the crime, but also act as a deterrent and improve safety for dogs and dog owners across Scotland.

The bill is backed by major animal welfare charities, who have estimated that dog thefts may have increased by up to 170 per cent during lockdown.

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The proposed Bill's consultation comes amid a worrying rise recorded cases of dog theft in the Scottish Borders. 

The consultation will now run for another 12 weeks until 16 January 2023 and Ms Hamilton is urging everyone to give their views ahead of it progressing through the Scottish Parliament.

She said: “I’m proud to be backing my colleague’s plans for a Dog Theft Bill.

“Dogs are an integral part of many families in the Borders, and by passing this legislation we will improve protections from the serious crime of dog theft.

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“I love my dogs, and I know that my family would be heartbroken if any of them were stolen as many Borderers’ have been.

“Deterrents against this need to be more effective, and the punishments more severe.

“With the consultation open on this bill, I would encourage everyone in the Borders – not just dog owners – to respond with their views.

“That will give the proposed legislation the best possible chance of succeeding in the Scottish Parliament and ensuring that we clamp down on those who commit the crime of dog theft.”