Battersea urges action on five-year sentences after Welsh man jailed for killing his dog

23 MARCH 2018

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has today renewed its call for tougher sentences for horrific cases of animal abuse and cruelty, after a Welsh farmer was jailed for 18 weeks for killing his sheepdog.

Tredegar man Graham Thomas was convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to Welsh Border Collie Prince after the dog failed to round up his flock of sheep correctly. Thomas reportedly hanged Prince from a large tree on his farm after witnesses saw him shouting and swearing at the dog. The RSPCA investigated and took him to court.

At the sentencing hearing yesterday (21 March), which followed Thomas's conviction on 12 March, Newport Magistrates' Court heard the offence was so serious that only a custodial sentence could be a suitable punishment and he was jailed for 18 weeks. He was also banned from keeping dogs and sheep for life and ordered to pay £750 prosecution costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

The news comes weeks after Westminster drafted a proposed amendment to the law on new legislation to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty in England and Wales to five years in prison. Battersea research shows England and Wales' current six-month maximum sentence for animal cruelty is the lowest in Europe.

Battersea's Chief Executive, Claire Horton, said: “Shocking cases like this show how important it is to increase sentences for the most serious cases of animal cruelty.

“Had this man been convicted of fly tipping, he could have been jailed for up to five years. Instead, he has escaped with just a few months in prison. We urge Westminster not to lose sight of this vital issue and to tighten up our laws as soon as possible."

To find out more about Battersea's sentencing campaign, visit