Animal abuse is unfortunately still common in both, rural and urban areas. Cruelty and neglect to these innocent creatures cross all social and economic boundaries, and they cover a wide range of actions.
Now, the UK is on a good way to become one of the toughest countries for punishing animal abusers.
After a public consultation in 2018, when over 70 percent of Britons called for tougher prison sentences for animal abusers, people in England who commit the most serious crimes of animal cruelty could now face up to five years in prison.
The proposed law for an increase on the current six-month maximum sentence went before parliament on the 26th of June 2019.
This is a great victory for campaigners led by Ricky Gervais who demanded better protection for innocent animals suffering by torturers and killers. It also followed the ban on puppy farms and wild animals in traveling circuses.
It would make the courts able to take firmer action in extreme cases of abuse and neglect, such as dogfighting, neglect of farm animals, and abuse of puppies and kittens.
Some judges and magistrates in some English courts have complained that they would have handed down longer sentences many times before if they were available.
As the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs explained, the new legislation will help courts deal more effectively with ruthless gangs involved in organized dog fights.
According to Environment Secretary Michael Gove:
“These plans will give courts the tools they have requested to deal with the most abhorrent acts. We are a nation of animal lovers and so we must ensure that those who commit the most shocking cruelty towards animals face suitably tough punishments.”
“There is no place in this country for animal cruelty. That is why I want to make sure that those who abuse animals are met with the full force of the law. Our new Bill sends a clear message that this behavior will not be tolerated, with the maximum five-year sentence one of the toughest punishments in Europe.
I am committed to making our country the best place in the world for the care and protection of animals.”
Claire Horton, Chief Executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, stated:
“The introduction of this bill is a landmark achievement, which will make a profound difference to dogs and cats in England and Wales.
We, and many other rescue centers, see shocking cases of cruelty and neglect come through our gates and there are many more animals that are dumped and don’t even make it off the streets.
Research shows that tougher prison sentences act as a deterrent to would-be criminals, so today’s announcement should prevent the suffering of many animals in the future.”