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Battersea Dogs and Cats home is calling on the Scottish Government to prioritise tougher animal cruelty sentences as a matter of urgency to deter potential offenders.

This comes one year after the Government’s pledge to get tough on animal abusers. The animal welfare charity said it welcomes Ministers’ renewed commitment to tougher sentences in this week’s Programme for Government (PfG), but is calling on politicians to make this long overdue animal welfare change a matter of top priority.  

Battersea’s Chief Executive Claire Horton said, “We’re very pleased that the Scottish Government has reaffirmed their commitment to tougher sentences for animal cruelty in today’s Programme. We hope they’ll make good on this commitment to animal welfare by putting legislation for five-year sentences before Parliament as soon as possible.

The Westminster Government recently finalised a consultation on raising the maximum sentence for animal cruelty and have committed to bring in tougher sentences in the next few months. We hope to see Scotland match this commitment, so we’ll see five-year maximum sentences across the UK.”

Battersea has been campaigning for England, Wales and Scotland to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty to five years – a campaign backed by 50 MSPs. But a year on since politicians gathered to show their support for the campaign, legislation to make this a reality has not yet come before Parliament.

Meanwhile, horrific animal abuse cases continue to appear in the news including an Ayr man given just four months for beating a Golden Retriever and throwing him against a wall. A couple in Banff were given only a five-year ban on owning pets and a £1,200 for starving their cat to death.  

Claire adds, “Cases like these show the true cost of animal cruelty. Raising the maximum sentence for these crimes will act as a deterrent and send a clear message that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated in Scotland.”

Follow the charity’s #NotFunny campaign for more.

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