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Battersea welcomes plans for tougher animal cruelty sentences

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home warmly welcomes today’s news that the Scottish Government is seeking to toughen up on punishments for animal abusers – just weeks after the charity launched its Scottish campaign for five-year sentences.

As part of its plans for this next Parliamentary year, the Scottish Government today delighted Scotland’s animal welfare supporters by announcing it is introducing a Bill to increase the maximum prison sentence for serious abuse cases to five years.

Last month, Battersea published research revealing the current 12-month sentence in Scotland is amongst the lowest across the whole of Europe, with only five other areas – including England and Wales – having lower sentences for animal cruelty.

Battersea’s Chief Executive, Claire Horton, said: “Battersea is thrilled by this news from the Scottish Government, as a five-year deterrent in Scotland could go a long way to help many animals that are the innocent victims of unacceptable cruelty.

“When we launched our campaign in Scotland last month, there was a momentum building amongst Scots in favour of tougher sentences and today’s news proves the Government is listening. They recognise 12 months is simply not enough for some of the horrific cases of animal cruelty that come through the Courts, nor does it deter other would-be animal abusers.

Claire Horton continued: “There’s still a way to go before the Scottish Government’s bold announcement today becomes law, as it needs support from the other Holyrood parties.

“A five-year sentence means courts have the power to appropriately punish the most shocking offences of animal cruelty. Battersea is urging animal lovers to respond to this call for action and contact their MSPs, to make it abundantly clear to all politicians that the Scottish public want to see five-year sentences become a reality. We commend the Scottish Government for their announcement today and Battersea is willing to help in any way we can to make this change happen.”

Claire Horton added that the Scottish Government’s announcement could have important implications for England and Wales, where the maximum sentence for animal cruelty is just six months.

She added: “Battersea is calling for tougher cruelty sentences north and south of the border. So, with Scotland now wanting to bring in five-year sentences, I sincerely hope this will make England and Wales now move to follow suit.”

For more information or to email your MSP to urge them to bring the Scottish Government’s plans to fruition, visit

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