Battersea calls on Scots to back tougher sentencing for animal abuse

Dog in cage

Famous animal charity puts pressure on Scots politicians 

20th September 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scottish politicians have joined Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to call for all parties to support tougher sentences for animal cruelty.

Battersea published new research in August showing how Scotland has among the lowest sentences for animal cruelty in Europe, the United States and Australia.

Only a few nations, including England and Wales have lower sentences.

Under current laws offenders in Scotland could get more for dumping litter than they would for torturing or killing an animal.

The Scottish Government recently stated it is willing to increase sentences for the worst animal cruelty offences from 12 months to five years, a move welcomed by animal welfare charities.

Cabinet secretary for the environment Roseanna Cunningham said: “Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and we take the welfare of our pets, animals and livestock extremely seriously. 

“Animal cruelty is an emotive issue, which quite rightly causes concern among animal lovers and the general public.

“While sentencing is, of course, a matter for the courts, it is vital that we ensure they have the powers they need to deal with cases of animal cruelty.

"That is why I was delighted to hear of the warm welcome given by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home to our recent commitment in our programme for government to increase the maximum penalty for the most serious cruelty to animal offences.”

Campaigners are now urging other politicians to back the Scottish Government’s commitment to gain support across parliament.

Battersea’s chief executive Claire Horton said: “Battersea is encouraged that the Scottish Government have proposed to increase sentences for such animal cruelty in future, but we now need all parties on board, for this to become a reality. So we’re asking all Scottish politicians to stand up and be that voice for pets that suffer such abuse, by pledging to support five-year sentences for animal cruelty.”

Chermaine Letham from Fife has first-hand experience of seeing animal cruelty and today she backed Battersea’s campaign for tougher sentences.

Her Staffordshire Bull Terrier Bruno was tortured and burnt to death in a shocking act of cruelty in 2014, yet the perpetrator was sentenced to just nine months in prison.

She said: “I know the sentence for animal cruelty in Scotland is far too low. Bruno wasn’t just my dog, he was my baby and he suffered horrifically.

“What happened to him broke me in half. I never thought I could feel pain like that and it’s made me terrified to get another dog. A nine-month sentence was outrageous, he should have got far longer.

“I just can’t imagine how anyone could have it in them to do that to an animal.”