Animal charity wants harsher sentences for cruelty cases

Animal cruelty web

Battersea wants to see those who abuse animals face up to five years in prison

28th August 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A call has been made for tougher sentences for those who abuse animals.

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is calling on the Scottish public and the nation’s politicians to join its campaign for harsher punishments for the most shocking cases of animal cruelty.

The charity has said that the country’s maximum punishments are low compared to Europe, the United States and Australia.

Battersea director Dee McIntosh said: “Scots like to see justice be done and play a part in righting some of society’s wrongs. And Battersea believes this can only help to build the momentum to get the law changed in Scotland to five years for animal cruelty. We now need all of Scotland’s politicians to make this change.”

Battersea is asking residents to contact their MSPs to call for the 12-month maximum sentence to be increased to five years for the most serious animal cruelty offences, bringing it in line with Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Rona Mackay, MSP for Strathkelvin and Bearsden and deputy convenor of the justice committee, is one of the politicians supporting the call for tougher animal cruelty sentences.

She said: "I am very much in favour of exploring opportunities to increase the sentencing for those charged with crimes of cruelty to animals. We need to send out a strong message that these vile crimes against defenceless animals are unacceptable, and we need to put it into perspective of all types of violent crime.”

The charity has highlighted several cases of serious animal cruelty, including that of a man who admitted torturing his pet cat in Fife. Filmed beating and biting the animal, he was sentenced to just eight months in prison. The sheriff called his actions "disgraceful" and said he wanted to impose the maximum 12-month sentence but the offender's guilty plea forced him to reduce it.

McIntosh continued: "Terrible cases like these show that the Scottish courts are doing their best to hand down the toughest sentences they can but the powers currently available to them make it impossible for the punishment to fit the crime.”