Battersea welcomes Government decision to introduce five-year sentences for animal cruelty in England


Battersea Dogs & Cats Home fully supports the Government announcement that it intends to increase maximum sentences for the worst cases of animal cruelty in England from six months to five years. The news comes just eight months after Battersea launched its campaign for tougher sentences.

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Claire Horton, Battersea’s Chief Executive, said: "Battersea is thrilled that the Government plans to raise the maximum sentence for the most abhorrent cases of animal cruelty in England from six months to five years.

“This shows that the political will is there to make the punishment fit the crime and so many innocent animals will benefit from their actions.”

Our campaign calling for five-year sentences

Battersea launched its campaign calling for five-year sentences back in February at Westminster - a call the public answered loudly, while some of the UK's best-loved comedians – Paul O’Grady, Ricky Gervais, Sue Perkins, Harry Hill and Tracey Ullman - also pledged their support.

Claire Horton added: “This news will be very positively received by the public, the majority of whom share Battersea's wish to see this change. Since we launched our campaign calling for five-year sentences, the momentum has clearly been building and the response has been tremendous, with close to 62,000 members of the public across the UK calling on their elected representatives to back this change – and 145 politicians already have."

Lowest sentences across Europe

Research Battersea published to coincide with the campaign launch shows England's current six-month maximum sentence for animal cruelty offences is by far the lowest across Europe. Northern Ireland and Ireland both have a maximum sentence of five years, while the Scottish Government announced in September it is also willing to increase its own maximum sentence to five years.

Claire Horton continued: “I would also like to thank the Scottish Government who made it clear last month that they are willing to raise the maximum sentence in Scotland from 12 months to five years. We cannot underestimate the positive impact their position has had on this issue.

"Battersea stands ready to help in any way we can to support this move to five-year sentences and make such shocking cruelty to animals a thing of the past.”