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)
Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.