Hundreds of people across North Staffordshire and South Cheshire have signed a petition calling for people who steal pets to be jailed.
Thousands of people have been signing the petition to parliament – which was set up earlier this year – over the past 24 hours.
The petition calls for pet theft to be made a specific offence with a starting point of two years in prison.
It has now been signed by more than 115,000 people from across the UK, meaning it will be considered for debate in parliament.
Among those who have signed it are 115 people from the Stoke-on-Trent North Constituency, 115 from Stoke-on-Trent Central and 149 from Stoke-on-Trent South.
It has also been signed by 189 people from Newcastle-under-Lyme, 161 from the Staffordshire Moorlands, 198 from the Stone constituency and 144 from Stafford.
Across the border in Cheshire it has been signed by 286 people in Crewe and Nantwich and 212 in Congleton.
Should people who steal pets get jailed?
0+ VOTES SO FAR
The petition, set up by Dr Daniel Allen, states: “Revise the sentencing guidelines in the Theft Act 1968 to reclassify pet theft as a specific crime. Ensure that monetary value is irrelevant for the categorisation of dog and cat theft crime for sentencing purposes. Recognise pet theft as a category 2 offence or above.
“Under the Theft Act, animal companions are legally regarded as inanimate objects when stolen. Stolen pets come under theft offences such as burglary or theft from a person. Sentencing is dependent on the monetary value of the stolen animal (under or above £500), and the crime is treated as a category 3 (fine to 2 years in custody) or 4 offence (fine to 36 weeks in custody) in magistrates court.
“Pet Theft Reform would make pet theft a category 2 offence with a starting point of 2 years custody.”