Torbay’s MP Kevin Foster recently renewed his pledge to support changing the law to increase the maximum sentences for animal cruelty.
Currently, Courts in England & Wales can only punish the most serious animal cruelty offences with a maximum of up to six months in prison, a banning order and an unlimited fine.
This month has seen the measure return to Parliament, following the introduction of a new Bill to change the law, allowing for sentences to increase to a maximum of five years for animal cruelty offences. Battersea has been campaigning on this since 2017 and Kevin previously backed a Cross-Party Private Member’s Bill seeking to make this change.
Encouragingly the Government has already indicated its intention to support the Bill during its passage through Parliament. This change would provide the justice system with the flexibility to treat the most shocking acts of animal cruelty much more seriously than it can at present.
Sadly, Battersea sees shocking cases of animal cruelty all too regularly.
April, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, was brought into Battersea late at night after a police officer found her alone on a freezing London street. She had an infected wound on her muzzle where her mouth had clearly been taped or wired shut. Following months of surgeries, April made a full recovery and eventually found a loving home. Unfortunately, not all dogs and cats are as lucky as April.
To show his support for Battersea’s position Kevin added his signature to their pledge board calling for this much needed change to the law.
Kevin Foster MP said: “It’s critically important we change the law to better protect animals in the future. The current maximum penalty is neither a punishment nor a deterrent to offenders and this change is long overdue. I’m proud to support this Bill and Battersea’s campaign.”
Northern Ireland already has sentences of up to five years, and the Scottish Government is currently legislating for five-year sentences.