The Dogs Trust has commended the government’s intentions on cracking down on animal cruelty offences.
The government recently committed to increasing the maximum sentence from six months to five years, in line with Northern Ireland.
In a statement the charity said: “The government’s move to increase the sentencing for animal cruelty offences to five years sends a powerful signal that animal abuse will not be tolerated. The existing penalties offer little penance for appalling crimes against dogs. We hope that these proposed tougher measures act as a deterrent and empower courts to appropriately sentence those responsible.
“In addition to increasing maximum sentences for animal cruelty, we would like to see further measures introduced to reduce the amount of time dogs are kennelled prior to hearings, such as measures to expedite the prosecution process.
“We would also like to see more being done to prevent animal cruelty before it occurs.
“Additionally, we urge the government to take action on the illegal importation of puppies. A recent report by Dogs Trust revealed scores of ‘designer’ puppies being transported thousands of miles in squalid conditions across Eastern Europe without the correct documentation and sold to unsuspecting consumers in the UK. Those responsible for transporting these puppies are currently undeterred due to woefully inadequate penalties.
“We are calling on the government to redress this as part of its review of pet travel legislation to ensure that prison sentences reflect the seriousness of the crimes committed by those importing dogs illegally.”