Animal abusers will face a ten-fold increase in prison sentences if found guilty in the United Kingdom under tough new legislation aimed at combating animal cruelty. Environment Secretary Michael Gove stated sentences will increase from the present six-months to five years.
According to the Guardian, the UK has some of the most lenient sentencing guidelines for animal cruelty in Europe. Recent egregious cases have brought the need for stricter punishments to the forefront which included a case when a man bought a litter of puppies just to brutally torture them to death. That person received just six months in prison and a lifetime ban from owning any animals. The additional cruelty sentences will also add to the battle against illegal dog fighting.
“We are a nation of animal lovers,” Mr. Grove stated on Monday at the Conservative Party conference, “and we must ensure that those who commit the most shocking cruelty towards animals face suitably tough punishments. These plans will give courts the tools they have requested to deal with the most abhorrent acts.”
The new guidelines are expected to be published at the beginning of next year and go into force shortly thereafter. Because of the subject, it is unlikely there will be an objections from Parliament and will continue to enable the courts to impose fines and ban offenders from owning animals.
The RSPCA of England and Wales welcome the harshest punishments for offenders. On their social media page they posted:
“We’re thrilled to see the Government’s announcement that those who carry out shocking abuse or neglect of animals will now face up to five years in jail.
A huge thank you to everyone who has supported our campaign to see tougher penalties for animal cruelty offenders.”
The maximum sentence in Scotland for animal abuse is 12 months, but they have also recently committed to increasing the maximum penalty in the most heinous cases to five years. The longer sentences will now be in line with Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, Australia and Canada.
And what about the United States? How do you feel?
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