Catholic MP Sir David Amess has expressed his delight at tougher prison sentences for animal cruelty coming into force this summer.
The maximum prison sentence for animal cruelty will be raised from six months to five years from 29th June 2021, following the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill receiving Royal Assent.
The new maximum penalty will enable courts to take a firmer approach to cases such as dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens, illegally cropping a dog’s ears and gross neglect of farm animals. As well as a prison sentence, offenders can also receive an unlimited fine.
The more stringent sentences will be some of the toughest in Europe. The Act will help ensure courts are able to enforce extended penalties for those who cruelly mistreat any animal, sending a clear message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated.
Sir David welcomed this significant moment, calling the Bill “vitally important and necessary”.
Throughout his Parliamentary career, the MP for Southend West has been very outspoken on the topic of animal welfare and has consistently urged the Government to make improvements to animal rights.
“This Bill is vitally important and necessary to tackle animal cruelty and to ensure that people who harm animals are properly punished,” said Sir David, a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation.
“The Bill realises the manifesto commitment from the Government on introducing tougher sentences for animal cruelty and increases the maximum sentence for those convicted of the worst animal cruelty offences in England and Wales from six months to five years.”
A public consultation in 2017 received over 9,000 responses and showed strong public support for proposals on tougher sentences.
The measure is also widely supported by animal welfare groups including the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
The Private Members Bill was introduced by Chris Loder MP in February 2020.
Picture: A dog stares out of a cage. (Giovannilaione).