PENRITH and The Border MP, Dr Neil Hudson has questioned the Justices Department about expanding new pet theft legislation to cover farm livestock and horse theft.

Dr Hudson said in the House of Commons this week: “As a veterinary surgeon I really welcome that the Government has listened to our calls and is introducing a new pet abduction law.

"Sadly however in rural areas such as Penrith and The Border, other animals are also frequently being stolen including farm animal livestock, horses and ponies.

"Will my Right Honourable Friend look to expand this legislation from pets to encompass all animal abduction offences such as farm livestock and horses, so we can try to put an end to the horrific and distressing crime that is animal theft?”

Justice Minister, James Cartlidge MP responded: “I am very grateful for my Honourable Friend and I do see the point he says.

"All I would say is the focus as he knows is on dogs and pets that we keep in the home but I am happy to speak to colleagues in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and get back to him on what we think of his suggestion.”

Speaking after the Commons session Dr Hudson added: “The government have been proactive in bringing forward legislation on pet theft but it could be expanded.

"Farm livestock and horse theft is a very real issue in rural areas like Cumbria.

"We need to put an end to these dreadful and distressing animal theft crimes.

"As a vet I feel incredibly strongly about this and our need to protect these animals and their owners.

“I look forward to seeing what Ministers come back to me with as this is clearly something that needs to be delivered across government departments.”