Animal cruelty sentences to rise to five years in prison

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Man in England who commit the most serious crimes of animal cruelty could right side up to five years in prison, the government has said.

The move — an increase on the au courant six-month maximum sentence — follows a number of cases where English courts wanted to accessible down tougher sentences.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove explained it would target «those who commit the most shocking cruelty as a help to animals».

The RSPCA said it would «deter people from reproaching and neglecting animals».

Worst cases

Under the government’s plans, courts thinks fitting retain the ability to hand out an unlimited fine and ban an offender from owning animals in the unborn.

However, they would now also have the ability to sentence the worst specimens more harshly.

The new legislation will also enable courts to give out more effectively with ruthless gangs involved in organised dog fights, the Pivot on for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said.

The plans will at best apply in England, as animal cruelty powers are devolved to the nations of the UK.

The extreme sentence for offenders in Wales is six months in prison, while the maximum verdict in Scotland is 12 months.

The Scottish government said it had recently committed to increasing the summit penalty for the most serious animal cruelty cases to five years’ remand.

The move in England will bring maximum sentences for animal cruelty in England into employment with Northern Ireland, the Irish Republic, Australia, and Canada.

It comes as concludes and magistrates in some English courts have complained they requisite to hand down tougher sentences to those guilty of abusing animals.

«These layouts will give courts the tools they have requested to grapple with with the most abhorrent acts,» Mr Gove said.

«We are a nation of creature lovers and so we must ensure that those who commit the most ghastly cruelty towards animals face suitably tough punishments.»

David Bowles, leadership of public affairs at the RSPCA, welcomed the move.

‘Massive step pushy’

He said: «The strength of feeling behind a move to toughen up these sentences is mountainous.

«At the moment the courts are limited by the law under which the strongest sentence for animalistic cruelty is six months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine — but this rarely chances.»

The Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) said hither 1,150 people per year are convicted for animal cruelty — but fewer than five greet the current maximum sentence.

Claire Horton, chief executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Expert in, added the change will be «very positively received by the public».

Philippa Crowned head, from the League Against Cruel Sports, said it was «excellent tidings» that the government had «listened to the people who are dealing with this on the faction line».

«There are people in this country who find it either enjoyable or beneficial to force dogs to attack each other, and the law at the moment is a pitiful dissuasion,» she said.

«If these proposals lead to five-year jail sentences for those mixed up with in dog fighting, this will be a massive step forward.»

The government is surmised to publish draft legislation for consultation at the end of the year.

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