A SOUTHEND MP's proposed law to crack down on pet abduction has passed through one of its final hurdles today.

Anna Firth, MP for Southend West, has shared her delight as her Pet Abduction Bill has passed through the House of Commons.

The bill removes pets from being in the same legal category as inanimate objects and, if it becomes law, would make dog and cat abductions specific offences with perpetrators liable for a fine or time in prison. 

Ms Firth said: "I am so pleased and happy that our precious pets are being recognised for the joy and comfort that they bring to our lives. The Pet Abduction Bill is now on its way to the House of Lords before, hopefully, becoming law.

"I'm extremely grateful to all my parliamentary colleagues who have helped and supported me to bring my bill through the various stages."

Ms Firth was inspired to bring the bill forward after becoming aware of a number of shocking incidents in Essex, as well as learning that pet thefts had increased across the country with figures suggesting that at least 2,290 dogs were stolen last year, a 6 per cent increase on 2022.

In 2021, Ann Cushion had her four rescue dogs stolen. She has gone on to establish Southend-based group Tilly’s Angels with Helene Leader, which seeks to reunite pets with their owners. 

Just last month, a pensioner in Benfleet reported he was struck over the head by men who jumped out of a van in an attempt to steal his cocker spaniel.