I warmly welcome the Government’s announcement that it is to introduce legislation to increase jail sentences for animal abusers.
The announcement by Environment Secretary Michael Gove means, once the legislation is passed in Parliament, maximum sentences for individuals convicted of abuse to animals will increase from six months to five years. People could also receive an unlimited fine in England and Wales.
As many constituents will be aware, I have been leading a campaign in Westminster in recent months to end the practice of puppy smuggling, in which thousands of puppies are illegally smuggled into the country – often without the right vaccinations and under the minimum 15 weeks age. In a parliamentary debate I held on the issue in April, I urged the Government to increase the minimum sentencing for those found guilty of the most serious offences associated with animal cruelty.
I am delighted that the Government has now introduce legislation that will increase the maximum jail sentences for animal abusers. I worked very closely with the Dogs Trust and Battersea Cats and Dogs Home when I held a debate on puppy smuggling earlier this year where I and a number of colleagues from all political parties asked for legislation to increase jail sentences to be introduced as soon as possible.
I am very pleased our efforts to improve animal welfare and increase sentences have now been heeded, and I look forward to building on this success to improve animal welfare and deter against cruelty and neglect even further.