Local MP Tim Farron has welcomed reports that the Government's pet theft taskforce is set to recommend that a new law be created to give tougher sentences for criminals who steal pets.
The number of dog thefts in Cumbria has more than doubled during the pandemic, with figures from Cumbria Police obtained by BBC Radio Cumbria showing that 46 dogs were reported stolen in the county last year, compared to just 22 in 2019.
According to the Guardian, Government sources say the new offence would acknowledge the "sentience of animals" and, factoring in the loss to the owner along with the welfare of the animal, would carry tougher sentences.
Tim has been campaigning for changes to the law and last month was the only Cumbrian MP to vote in favour of an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill which would make pet theft a specific criminal offence.
Tim said: "I'm encouraged that the Government have started listening to MPs and campaigners and look as if they are finally going to take action to tackle the deeply disturbing rise in pet thefts.
"So many families have suffered the unspeakable pain of having their pet stolen from them over this past year.
"It's so important that we get this new law in place immediately so justice can be properly served and to act as a strong deterrent to stop more of these cruel thefts from happening."