Advocates in England and Wales calling for five year jail terms for animal abusers

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Animal cruelty should carry a five year maximum jail sentence says Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, a rescue organization claiming current “animal cruelty sentences are a joke.” The current  six months in prison for the gravest acts of animal cruelty such as torturing an animal to death is utterly inadequate” and “laughable” if it wasn’t so shocking, advocates claim.

According to the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home comprehensive report on animal cruelty and punishments for convicted persons, the following results reflect:

  • England and Wales has the lowest sentence for animal cruelty in Europe – six months in prison plus a fine
  • Almost every state in the United States and every OECD nation in the survey punishes extreme animal cruelty more severely than England and Wales.
  • Northern Ireland has a maximum sentence for 5 years
  • 65% of people polled believe the maximum sentence should be increased
  • 6-months for animal cruelty compares badly with 5 years for fly tipping (illegal trash dumping) or 7 years for theft.

Claire Horton’s, Chief Executive for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, campaign has drawn the support of the RSPCA and the League Against Cruel Sports whose position is if a more serious punishment isn’t pushed through, animal abusers will continue abusing animals. According to the Telegraph, Parliament will discuss a Private Member’s Bill on Friday. The average prison term for someone convicted of animal cruelty in the United Kingdom is 3.3 months, with only one offender in ten ever jailed. More abusers commonly get away with probation, light fines or community service. In January, new guidelines were introduced to make stricter punishments for the most serious cases.

Five year prison terms would bring the United Kingdom on par with Northern Ireland and Ireland, as recommended in a November report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee on animal welfare. In the United States, sentences can be similar, but again, how many times do judges uphold the stricter punishments? Bottom line – until animal cruelty is treated as a genuine threat to humans and animals, abusers still too often run free. What do you think?

(Photo for advocates want five year jail terms courtesy of Battersea Dogs & Cats)

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  1. I whole heartily agree! The sentences handed out for those who abuse animals are laughable! In the US prosecutors make plea deals or decline to prosecute all together it’s sad! This is a battle those of us on the front lines of animal rescue have been dealing with for years! Until penalties are made stiffer and enforced things will stay as they are!

  2. Yes and yes sentence should be five years!!!!!!! Hope they put into law.. also put that idiot who did that to that poor fur soul. That is unacceptable

  3. Je pense que la cruauté animal dans toutes ses formes devrait être condamnée au même titre que celle des enfants martyrisés, les animaux sont des enfants dans toute leur courte vie , ce qui ne leur laissent pas assés de temps pour espérer une vie des plus meilleurs, ils n’ont pas assé de temps pour un semblant d’oublie. Les peines devraient être sévères et exemplaires.

  4. I think we all agree the light sentences attached to the horrible animal abuse we see is laughable. I hope they can get the laws stiffened up in England. With that said, aren’t there stories closer to home we could be sharing? Lot’s of far away dogs we are sharing but doubtful anyone close enough to help will not see our comments.

  5. Five years for first offense, increased to 10 years after second offense – no early release, picture should be posted in every shelter and rescue to ensure they never get another animal.

  6. The U.S. has varying degrees of punishment. as we know, with some as In Mississippi, lagging with a max at only six months jail and $ 1,000 fine; as comparable with England and Wales..I think this is a sad joke. The above article states that trash dumping in England is now maxed at FIVE years and theft maxed at seven years. I commend them for trying to take steps in the right direction, but Come on, get this into better proportion by asking for MORE THAN A HIGHER NEW MAX of five years! Because, obviously how can trash dumping and theft be MORE severe than torturing a living, feeling animal? U.S. needs an overhaul as well. Part of the issue is that I think all of the U.S. (except Oregon )still defines pets as our “property” and you can see how that would be problematic. There is a lot of wiggle room on what people can do with their property or they can do what they see fit. Well, a lot of people see way CRAAAZY. So pets need to be seen as individuals with rights ( as Oregon Supreme Court deemed them last year). They are individuals with the right to be here and should not be subject to abuse and injury (and or neglect by owners.). Violence should not be minimized just because the victim wasn’t a human. RIDICULOUS


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