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Justice Secretary Robert Buckland wants to make it more difficult for thieves to sell on stolen pets and has set about coming up with new legislation, The Telegraph reports.
The number of pets stolen has risen sharply in lockdown, with 2,438 dogs reported stolen in 2020 - a 19 percent increase from the year before - while the number of cats taken rose 12.3 percent.
As well as a ban on selling pets for cash, the government is also looking to introduce mandatory microchipping for cats.
Late last year, The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) launched an eight-week consultation on plans to make this compulsory for cat owners.
It's estimated that around 2.6 million - around 26 percent - of the UK's cats aren't microchipped, making it more difficult for them to be reunited with their owners if they are lost or stolen.
A government source told The Telegraph: "There is a thriving black market in cash sales of animals, no questions asked.
"A cash ban is appealing because we know it crippled the stolen scrap metal industry and microchipping is absolutely central to the way in which animals' welfare is maintained."
Last June, DogLost, a group that reunites people with their lost pets, said they'd seen reports of dog theft rise drastically during lockdown.
The group says that certain breeds, in particular, are being targeted by cruel thieves - including popular pets chihuahuas, French bulldogs and cockapoos.
DogLost said between 23 March and 1 June they had reports of 48 incidents of stolen pets, compared with just 29 over the same time period in 2019.
A government spokesperson told The Guardian any plans would be revealed in 'due course'.
They said: "Last month the home secretary, the lord chancellor and the environment secretary met to discuss a cross-government approach to combatting this issue and we will announce next steps in due course.
"This builds upon the huge amounts of work already undertaken by junior ministers and officials to address this cruel and criminal practice."
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