Thugs who abuse animals should get longer jail terms, Harefield charity says

Thugs who abuse animals should get longer jail terms, Harefield charity says Courtesy of Battersea Dogs Home

Thugs who abuse animals should get longer jail terms, a Harefield charity says.

Harefield Dogs Trust has backed plans by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home for stiffer prison sentences for animal abusers.

The charity today called for jail time for such offences to rise from six months to five years.

Battersea launched the Be Their Voice campaign this morning, which calls on all animal lovers to back their campaign to change the law.

Harefield Dogs Trust backed BDCH’s campaign and described current sentencing powers as “woefully inadequate”.

The organisation told Hillingdon Is Here in a statement: “We strongly urge the government to increase the prison sentences available for animal cruelty offences in order to reflect the seriousness of the offences that are carried out on a daily basis.

“Dog ownership is at the core of all of our efforts. We encourage both existing and potential dog owners to be responsible and to ensure that their dog is well cared for, trained and sociable.”

Laws in England and Wales contrast to those in Northern Ireland the maximum sentence is five years, and in some parts of the US, where those convicted can be sentenced for up to ten.

Defra figures show that in 2015, out of 936 people convicted with animal cruelty offences only 91 were given prison sentences. These 91 spent an average of three-and-a-half months behind bars.

Claire Horton, chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, said: “It isn’t acceptable that our courts are unable to hand out tougher sentences in such extreme animal cruelty cases, yet the likes of fly-tipping can result in prison sentences of up to five years.

“If you were kept in a shed for weeks or months and deprived of food, water and companionship, you’d expect the person responsible to be properly punished.

“Let’s get this into proportion and let the punishment for abusing animals truly fit the crime.”

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