There has been much rejoicing in the animal welfare community today as The Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill passed though the House of Lords successfully today 28th April 2021.
The maximum penalty that could be given to those found guilty of violent crimes against animals was six months before today. A ridiculously lenient punishment that did not in any way reflect the horror of abuses heaped on some victims.
Contains references to violence move on to the next section.
In 2013 two brothers from North Yorkshire set about abusing their family dog, a bulldog named baby who was put to sleep shortly after the incident.
The brothers filmed their cowardly, disgusting attack on the small, defenceless dog. The memory card from the phone was found some time later on the floor of a grocery store. When the video surfaced it was taken to the police.
The brothers were seen repeatedly throwing baby down the stairs, stamping on her head repeatedly, picking her up & slamming her to the ground repeatedly, standing on her chest & jumping up & down on her then picking her up by her ears & headbutting her twice.
The men were laughing hysterically & smiling throughout. Baby remained passive during her ordeal.
They were sentenced to 21 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and ordered to pay £300 costs. They were banned from keeping animals for life with no appeal for 20 years.
Chris Loder Conservative MP for West Dorset introduced the bill in The House Of Commons as a Private Members Bill on February 5th 2020. The Bill makes provision for the maximum penalty for certain offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to be increased from six months to up to five years.
Chris cites his own dog a four year old cocker spaniel called Poppy as his inspiration for the bill. Poppy was found in a frail condition by the side of the road & needed vet care for long term health conditions that had not been treated by whoever Poppy had been living with.
The Bill will receive royal assent tomorrow (29 April) & is expected to come into force later this year.
The bill will allow courts to impose harsher sentences of up to five years in prison when sentencing criminals who have carried out violent attacks on animals.
The short form of the bill is Finns Law 2 & was spearheaded by serving police officer Dave Wardell & his best friend Finn.
Finn sustained life threatening injuries during an incident while on duty in 2016. Dave & Finns ordeal following the incident triggered The Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Bill which prevents criminals who kill or injure service animals from claiming they did so to protect themselves.
Dave was compelled to pursue a change in legislation when he discovered that Finn was not adequately protected in law, his attacker faced woefully inadequate criminal damage charges despite Finn narrowly surviving the attack.
Campaigners all over England have been expressing their delight at todays outcome.
James Sawyer, IFAW UK Director, said:
“We are delighted to see this vital Bill pass its final reading and look forward to better protection for animals from the worst cases of cruelty and neglect. As a nation of animal lovers, we will now have a far stronger deterrent for the minority who wish to inflict pain and suffering on defenceless creatures.
“Increasing the maximum sentence for serious cases of animal abuse from six months to five years is long overdue but a significant milestone in animal welfare which is to be celebrated.”
Dog Desk congratulates all who have worked so hard on this very important matter & would ask you to take a moment in remembrance of all animals who have suffered horrible abuses at the hands of violent criminals. Many of them are no longer with us, their abusers will not be punished but this bill is in their memory & their name, each & every one of them.