Posted: Wed 11th Oct 2017

Welsh Goverment urged to increase prison sentences for animal cruelty offenders

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Oct 11th, 2017

Wales should follow the example of England in introducing tougher penalties for animal welfare offences.

The RSPCA says the Welsh Government must increase the maximum sentences which can be handed down to those convicted of animal cruelty, or risk treating animal cruelty as a far less serious offence, compared to neighbouring England.

The charity is now urging the Welsh Government to ensure stronger sentences are made available in Wales, furthering the country’s “strong, proud record” with regards to animal welfare.

In late September, Michael Gove – the UK Government’s Environment Secretary – introduced legislation in England increasing the maximum sentence for animal cruelty offences from six months up to five years.

The Scottish Government has also committed to extending sentences from 12 months to five years for the worst offences, and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland already have these measures in place.

Animal welfare is the responsibility of the Welsh Assembly and a separate change under devolved powers is needed to increase sentences in Wales

In Tuesday’s  First Minister Questions, leader of the Welsh Conservatives – Andrew RT Davies – called on Carwyn Jones and the Welsh Government to immediately exercise powers and extend sentences.

Victor the Staffordshire bull terrier who fed cocaine and had his ears chopped off

Mr Davies cited the appalling and barbaric example of a man from Caia Park in Wrexham who was handed a mere 24-week sentence for feeding his Staffordshire Bull Terrier with cocaine before cutting its ears off.

A 2017 YouGov poll for RSPCA Cymru found that 80% of people in Wales support the maximum sentence being increased to a prison term of five years.

Supporters can back the RSPCA’s campaign and call for action in Wales by writing to the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs via the charity’s website.

Claire Lawson, RSPCA Cymru Assistant Director of External Relations, said:

“The recent announcement by the UK Government about increasing the maximum sentence available for those convicted of animal cruelty in England was hugely positive news – and something the RSPCA has long championed.

“Sadly, every year, we tackle harrowing, and inexplicable animal cruelty. The cruelty we witness can be absolutely heartbreaking – and making tougher sentences available in Wales will ensure we never treat animal cruelty as a far less serious offence than over the border.

“In Wales, we have a strong record on improving animal welfare law – and we believe the Welsh public would expect the Welsh Government to be fully behind increasing sentencing. This would be a vital change, which would further our country’s strong, proud record concerning the welfare of animals.”

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