Battersea welcomes new research backing tougher sentences for animal cruelty offences

09 AUGUST 2017

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has welcomed a new report released today by the Centre for Crime Prevention calling on the Government to review and increase animal cruelty sentences.

The think tank’s new research, ‘Protecting Animals, Protecting People: The case for tougher sentencing for animal cruelty’ echoes Battersea’s current influential campaign, asking the Government to review and increase the maximum sentence for the most shocking cases of animal cruelty in England and Wales.

Battersea’s Chief Executive, Claire Horton, said: “The Centre for Crime Prevention’s research clearly sets out how important it is for sentencing to be proportionate to these awful cruelty offences and Battersea warmly welcomes their report.”

Battersea launched its campaign for a maximum five-year sentence for such offences at Westminster in February, revealing that England and Wales’ current six-month maximum is the lowest such sentence across the whole of Europe, the United States and Australia. In stark contrast, the maximum sentence for commercial fly-tipping is five years in prison.

Claire Horton added: “Battersea is starting to see significant public and political support for our campaign, with almost 55,000 people backing our call for tougher sentences. We already have the support of 83 MPs and we believe this number will continue to grow.”

The Centre for Crime Prevention’s report confirmed that those who commit animal cruelty offences can also go on to commit other serious offences. This echoes Battersea’s own research, which highlighted serious animal cruelty offenders are five times more likely than others to have a history of violent crime. Equally, people experiencing domestic abuse are 11 times more likely to report that their partners had hurt or killed pets.

Claire Horton commented: “This is incredibly important. Just like Battersea, the Centre for Crime Prevention is also asking Government to review the law and bring in more proportionate sentences. We need to recognise that animal cruelty can escalate into even more serious offences and so we must give our courts the powers to sentence accordingly.

“I would urge more organisations to support Battersea’s call for five-year sentences for animal cruelty, so the punishment really does fit the crime.”