§ Mr. Peter Ainsworth
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has to increase penalties on conviction for the theft of pet dogs; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Blears
[holding answer 21 October 2003]: There are no plans to increase penalties for the theft of pet dogs. The courts already have robust sentencing powers for theft: the current maximum penalty is seven years imprisonment.
The Government believe that these penalties sufficiently reflect the seriousness of the offence.