People who commit animal abuse could face up to five years in jail after draft legislation has gained strong support from animal welfare groups and the public.
The maximum sentence is currently six months, but following a consultation the Government has confirmed it’ll increase it tenfold for serious offences.
Animal Welfare Minister, Lord Gardiner said, “Our proposals to raise maximum sentences for animal abusers attracted strong support. We’ll now legislate so courts have the power to punish offenders properly.”
The plans to increase maximum sentences follow a number of shocking cases where courts have said they’d have handed down longer sentences had they been available.
The Government also supported the Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill, which will ensure service animals such as police dogs and horses will be offered greater protection. The proposed legislation will remove a section of the current law of self-defence, often cited by those who harm a service animal in the process of committing a crime.
These plans are part of wider programme to help cement the UK’s position as a leader on animal welfare. This includes making CCTV mandatory in all English slaughterhouses and taking steps to control the export of live farm animals for slaughter as we leave the EU.