Examination of Witnesses

Part of Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 9:31 am on 23rd July 2019.

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Michael Flower:

I will start, if I may. It is important that sentencing is increased because the current maximum penalty does not reflect the serious offences that we see in the animal cruelty world. There is a huge upsurge in public opinion, which seems to want increased sentences. We have encountered comments from the judiciary in our prosecutions and they would also like to see higher penalties so that they could deal adequately with the types of offence that have been encountered.

For example, we would be looking for increased sentence in cases such as “man pours lighter fluid on a dog and sets it on fire” and “man puts kitten in microwave, switches it on and kills it”. We have had recent cases involving puppies being kicked to death. We had a recent case involving two men who wanted to kill a dog, with some reason to do so, but rather than take it to the vet, one chap hammered a nail into the dog’s head. Then they buried the dog, and the dog was still alive. I could go on, but I don’t think I need to. Some of the cases we are encountering are, frankly, awful.