As a loving owner of a cocker spaniel, I share your love and concern for animals.
There is no place in this country for animal cruelty, and we must ensure that those who abuse animals are met with the full force of the law. I am therefore pleased that the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill has now been introduced in the House by Chris Loder MP, and will be backed by the Government. The new Bill will enable tougher prison sentences for the most serious perpetrators of animal cruelty, from the current maximum of six months to up to five years.
While animal cruelty is a devolved area in Wales, I welcome that the Welsh Government has agreed to the UK Parliament legislating for both England and Wales. Maintaining a comparative sentencing regime across England and Wales is important to ensure clarity for enforcement agencies, the Courts and the public alike.
I believe that this increase in sentencing will send a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated. The maximum five-year sentence will become one of the toughest punishments in Europe, strengthening the UK’s position as a global leader on animal welfare. These increased maximum sentences will act as a serious deterrent against cruelty and gross neglect in the future.