The National:

LAWYERS have torn into a Tory MSP over his bid to make dog theft illegal - as it's already a crime.

Maurice Golden published the findings of his 12-week consultation on his proposed Dog Abduction (Scotland) Bill this week, which would seek to create a specific offence for the crime of dog theft.

But, those in the legal profession were quick to point out that Golden’s bid is simply duplicating existing common law.

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Golden’s legislation would see those convicted of dog theft facing up to five years in prison - even though there isn’t a limit under the law as it stands.

That means that the Tory MSP's bill, if introduced, would actually weaken the law, not strengthen it.

And the legal community were quick to point that out as Golden celebrated 97% of responses to his consultation backing the proposals.

Scottish Legal News ran with the mortifying headline: “MSP pushes ahead with dog theft bill that replicates existing law”.

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The news outlet added that the legislation had been met with “derision” from the legal community and that the Law Society of Scotland had said it was “not opposed to the creation of a new offence in principle” but felt more evidence was required.

Andrew Tickell, senior lecturer in law at the University of Glasgow, after sharing an article that stated the bill would strengthen the law, wrote on Twitter: “It might be - if dog owners thought it was currently legal to steal pets. But it isn't is it?

“It is already common law theft punishable by ... up to five years imprisonment in the Sheriff Court.

“Latest headline from politicians recriminalising things which are already crimes.”

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Golden claimed that the law as it stands “doesn’t do justice” for dog owners and that his bill would address the issue.

“The law also doesn’t do enough to deter thieves, to support police in tracking them down or to build a robust picture of the scale of the problem,” he said.

“My proposed bill aims to address all of that.”

Reducing the upper limit of a life sentence for dog thieves to five years doesn't sound much like a deterrent to us. 

Well, it seems Golden should have taken a bit more paws for thought before pushing ahead with the bill.