Animal abusers in Britian to face 5 years prison in get-tough policy

LONDON, Oct. 3 — The maximum prison sentence for people
convicted of animal cruelty in Britain is to be increased from six months
to five years under plans announced Saturday.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said animal abusers who commit the most
heinous crimes will face the harsher punishments. Gove said the government
is to bring forward new legislation that will increase the current
punishment tenfold to send a clear signal to potential offenders that there
is no place for animal cruelty in England. A spokesman for the Department
for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said: “There have been a
number of recent shocking cases where courts have said they would have
handed down longer sentences had they been available, including a case in
April last year when a man bought a number of puppies just to brutally and
systematically beat, choke and stab them to death. The new legislation will
also enable courts to deal more effectively with ruthless gangs involved in
organized dog fights.”

Secretary Gove said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and so 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.” Defra said the
number of people convicted of extreme animal cruelty in Britain averages
1,150 people a year. Under the government plan, courts will have the
ability to hand out unlimited fines and ban offenders from ever owning
animals in the future, but they will also have the ability to sentence the
worst cases appropriately.

The move has been widely welcomed by animal welfare groups and follows
dedicated campaigning from Battersea Cats and Dogs Home and the RSPCA.
Claire Horton, CEO at the famous Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, in London
welcome the move. She said: “Since we launched our campaign calling for
five year sentences in February, the momentum has clearly been building and
the response has been tremendous, with close to 62,000 members of the
public across the UK calling on their MPs to back this change.” David
Bowles from the animal RSPCA said: “Our inspectors regularly rescue animals
from horrific circumstances of mistreatment, brutality and neglect.” Last
month Defra announced plans to make closed circuit cameras mandatory in all
slaughterhouses and committed to take steps to control the export of live
farm animals for slaughter. –XINHUA