Animal cruelty convictions should have higher penalties
Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, the maximum fine for animal cruelty & welfare offences is £20,000. The maximum term of imprisonment is 6months (3months). In the majority of cases where convicted - the person rarely even gets a noticeable fine due to an ingrained attitude by the courts towards either those on low income or animal crime itself. All animal cruelty cases - even the most serious are only heard at Magistrate level, hence the limit on sentencing handed down - should this barrier exist? Magistrates knowledge is normally limited to experiences brought before them. The use & enforcement of animal bans is weak & rarely for life.
I propose the following to HM government:
1. Raise the maximum fine to £50,000.
2. Raise the maximum imprisonment to 10yrs (5yrs).
3. Magistrates to complete a one day course given by an organisation such as the RSPCA to aid them.
4. Enforcement is difficult, none the less, life bans should increase.
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