Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has launched a major campaign calling for harsher punishments for people who seriously abuse animals.
The maximum sentence for even the most extreme cases of animal cruelty in England and Wales is six months in prison, the lowest across Europe, the United States and Australia. Battersea would like to see this raised to five years.
Battersea’s campaign for tougher penalties was launched in Westminster today by its Chief Executive, Claire Horton.
“Battersea’s research into extreme animal cruelty tells us the sentences handed out are actually no punishment at all. We and many other rescue centres see shocking cases of cruelty and neglect come through our gates and there are many more that are dumped and don’t even make it off the streets. These are the dogs and cats we’re speaking out for today,” said Horton.
“We looked at 100 different jurisdictions across the world and England and Wales’ maximum six-month sentence is the lowest, lagging far behind countries like Ireland at five years and Germany at three years. It would be laughable if it weren’t so shocking.”
Last year, a London man admitted torturing and killing nine puppies after local vets became suspicious and raised the alarm. He had beaten, stabbed and sprayed bleach in the puppies’ eyes. The strangled body of another was found in a bin. After an RSPCA investigation, he received the maximum sentence possible of six months in prison.
In another case, two brothers from Teesside admitted animal cruelty after they were filmed beating their pet Bulldog and throwing her down a flight of stairs. The Bulldog died from her injuries but they walked free from court with a suspended sentence of 21 weeks. The local MP in this area, Anna Turley, was so incensed by the crime, she has raised a Bill in Parliament to increase sentences, which will be debated on Friday, 24 February.
“It isn’t acceptable that our courts are unable to hand out tougher sentences in such extreme animal cruelty cases, yet the likes of fly-tipping can result in prison sentences of up to five years. So let’s get this into proportion and let the punishment for abusing animals truly fit the crime,” added Horton.
To join Battersea Dog & Cats Home’s campaign visit www.battersea.org.uk/betheirvoice and use the hashtag #NotFunny on Twitter.