Canine Theft Act 1968


An Act to revise the law on theft and other personal property misdemeanours by dogs and similar associated offences.

All references to ‘he’ and ‘dog’ shall include the female of the species and dogs that have had their bits cut off.


1              Definition of ‘theft’

1.1          A dog is guilty of theft if he dishonestly takes property belonging to another (whether human or dog) with the intention of permanently depriving that other of it.  Theft can also mean stealing stuff.

1.2          It is immaterial whether the taking is made with a view to gain and a ‘dog in the manger’ attitude will not be a defence to the offence

2              Definition of ‘dishonesty’

2.1          A dog’s taking of property belonging to another is NOT to be regarded as dishonest;

2.1.1      if he takes the property in the belief that he has in law the right to deprive the other of it. This requires the dog to believe something. Following one’s own instinct may be a ‘belief’ for the purposes of this Act.

2.1.2      if he takes the property in the belief that he would have the owner’s consent if the owner knew of the taking and the circumstances of it. So, for example, if the owner had forgotten to feed the dog and the dog went and got its own kibble this would not be an offence.

2.2          However, the dog may still be guilty of theft notwithstanding that he is willing to pay for the property, not that it is likely that the dog will have money of his own unless it is Harry Redknapp’s dog.

3              Definition of ‘takes’

3.1          The assumption of ownership to the exclusion of the real owner, whether the dog has come by the property innocently or not.

4              Definition of ‘property’

4.1          Including, food, toys, blankets, baskets etc.

4.2          A dog cannot steal land or real property. However, items upon the land, such as kennels may be stolen or used contrary to the previous incumbent’s rights.

4.3          A dog that eats grass, flowers or poo in an open area does not commit an offence, apart from against common decency. Sticks from trees shall never deemed to have be stolen in any circumstances.

4.4         Wild creatures; rabbits, ducks, pigeons, pheasants etc. shall not be considered property unless tamed or belonging to a farmer, in a farmer’s yard.

4.5          Domestic animals, including; rabbits, guinea pigs, rats and even cats should not be stolen or even chased.

5              Definition of ‘another’

5.1          Another human or dog (pretty obvious eh!)

6              Definition of ‘permanently depriving’

6.1          To include eating, chewing up beyond recognition, hiding, burying etc.


7              Theft

7.1          The act of stealing from another. To include:

7.1.1      Theft of food from a table or work surface, however nice it smells and however stupid the owner is leaving it out and within reach.

7.1.2      Theft of a toy from another dog.

7.1.3      Theft of a blanket, bed or basket belonging to another dog and putting your smell on their personal bedding.

7.2          It shall not be theft to sleep in a human’s bed although this may be the tort of trespass.

7.3          The sanction on proof of the offence being committed is to be told, “bad boy, naughty boy”.

8.            Robbery

8.1          A dog is guilty of robbery if he steals and at the time of doing so, or in order to do so, he barks or growls or puts a human or other dog in fear of being bitten or attacked.

8.2          The sanction for the offence is to be told off severely and perhaps smacked.

9              Burglary

9.1          A dog is guilty of burglary if he enters a building that he shouldn’t with the intention of committing a theft offence. For instance wandering into a butchers’ shop with the intention of sealing sausages.

9.2          The sanction for the offence is to be chased out with a broom or other implement.


10.          Specific offences

10.1        Removal of articles from places open to the public. As dogs are rarely allowed into stately homes and places like that, then this section will not normally be relevant, save for the general rule appearing in 4.3 above concerning sticks.

10.2        Taking motor vehicle or other conveyance without authority. This is, again, an unlikely crime. Related offences would be for a dog to be in a moving vehicle without sticking their head out of the window and taking the speeding points on behalf of an owner – that is unless you are Chris Huhne’s dog.

10.3        Theft of mail. If mail or post is put through the letter box it should not be chewed up, hidden or otherwise tampered with. It shall not be an offence to demand biscuits from Postmen, although only minimal growling will be permitted.

10.4       Obtaining property by deception. It will not be an offence for a dog to pretend to be hungry in order to obtain food or treats.

10.5        Blackmail. Dogs will not be liable under this offence if the value of the item is not very much. Examples would be that a dog may ‘temporarily deprive’ an owner of a slipper in order to obtain a treat. Larger or more expensive items, such as small children, should not be stolen.

10.6        Handling (Pawing) of stolen goods. A dog may not paw goods belonging to another if another dog has stolen them to start with. Fencing should only be used for weeing up.


11           References to Chris Huhne and Harry Redknapp were topical as at the date of the caninisation of this law. If either of them are found not to have committed any offence then these references should be taken in an historical context.


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