Animal welfare charity, Battersea, has praised the Scottish Government and MSPs from across parliament for delivering on their \u201cpromise\u201d to increase maximum sentences for the worst animal cruelty offences from 12 months to five years.\r\n\r\nThe \u2018Animals and Wildlife Bill\u2019 first introduced in October last year, passed its third and final reading earlier this week (17 June).\u00a0\r\n\r\nThe charity first launched its campaign to increase maximum sentencing in Scotland in 2017 and have been encouraged by the Scottish Government\u2019s commitment to this change in law.\r\n\r\nThis Bill will raise the maximum sentence for animal cruelty in Scotland from 12 months to five years, and will become the law after it receives Royal Assent.\r\n\r\nBattersea revealed In England and Wales, the maximum punishment is the lowest in Europe at just six months and said the Westminster Bill has been \u201cpostponed yet again; despite the government first pledging its support almost three years ago\u201d.\r\n\r\nBattersea\u2019s chief executive, Claire Horton, said: \u201cWe\u2019re thrilled to see this Bill make such quick progress. The Scottish Government has sent out a clear message that Scotland will not tolerate the most heinous animal cruelty crimes and will respond accordingly. \r\n\r\n\u201cThis change in law will protect innocent animals and act as a proper deterrent to those who abuse and mistreat animals.\u201d\r\n\r\n\u00a0She added: \u201cWe have been campaigning for this change for a very long time alongside Scottish SPCA, other rescue organisations and many thousands of Scots who have written to their MSPs and called for this on social media. \r\n\r\n\u201cThis change would not have happened without everyone\u2019s support. Now we desperately need England and Wales to follow in the Scots\u2019 footsteps.\u201d\r\n\r\nEarlier this month, Battersea has responded to Labour\u2019s call for the government to pass the long-awaited Animal Cruelty Sentencing Bill.\r\n\r\nThe news comes as animal charity RSPCA has announced it is supporting calls for tougher sentences of up to five years in jail for the worst animal abusers to be made law by autumn.