Battersea media statement: Sentence for man who blinded his dog by beating it with a pole shows the need for five-year sentences

Today in Greater Manchester a man was sentenced to 18 weeks in prison for animal cruelty, for beating his Bichon Frise Skye with a metal pole (find out more here). The beating was so severe that vets had to remove the dog’s eye. As she had already lost sight in her other eye, this left her completely blind. The man’s beating also broke Skye’s jaw, ribs, back leg and ten of her teeth.
 
Leading animal welfare charity Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has been campaigning to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years since February 2017. So far over 62,000 people have supported the campaign.
 
Chief Executive Claire Horton says:
 

“This shocking case shows why it’s so important for the Government to make good on their promise to raise the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years as a matter of urgency. This poor, defenceless dog almost died because of her injuries, and 18 weeks in prison is a wholly inadequate punishment for the deliberate and sustained cruelty inflicted on her by her owner.”
 
“A short custodial sentence like this is currently the toughest punishment the Court could have handed down for his crime. Their hands are tied because the maximum sentence for animal cruelty in England remains lower than almost everywhere else in Europe. Dogs like Skye can’t speak for themselves. We need to be their voice by bringing in tougher sentences to show animal abuse won’t be tolerated in this country.”
 
Notes to editors
  • To find out more about Battersea’s campaign to raise the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from six months to five years, visit notfunny.battersea.org.uk
  • The maximum sentence for animal cruelty under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is only six months in prison in England and Wales and just 12 months in Scotland, compared to two years in France, three years in Germany and five years in both Ireland and Northern Ireland
  • In 2016, 1,401 people were convicted of offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
  • Battersea published a report, Sentencing for animal cruelty in England and Wales, on 20 February 2017.
  • Battersea is also campaigning to see the maximum sentence for animal cruelty raised from one to five years in Scotland. For more information, see Battersea’s report, Sentencing for animal cruelty in Scotland
  • Established in 1860, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home aims never to turn away a dog or cat in need of our help, caring for them until their owners or loving new homes can be found, no matter how long it takes.
  • Since it was founded, Battersea has rescued, reunited and rehomed over 3.1 million dogs and cats.
  • In 2017 the Home cared for over 7000 dogs and cats.
  • Battersea cares for an average of 300 dogs and 200 cats across its three centres at any one time.