Animal welfare charity Battersea has praised the Scottish government for increasing sentences for animal cruelty offences to a maximum of five-years.
Last month, MSPs across Parliament voted unanimously for the Scottish government’s change in law under the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill that saw maximum sentences of 12 months increase to five years for the worst animal cruelty crimes.
Battersea’s CEO, Claire Horton CBE, said: “We are thrilled with this change in the law. Battersea, alongside the Scottish SPCA, other rescue organisations and members of the public, have been campaigning for a change in the law in Scotland since 2017. This change wouldn’t have happened without everyone’s dedicated support.
“This is the final piece of the puzzle. It’s been a very long journey to make the punishment fit the crime – it will act as a proper deterrent and protect animals from those who would abuse and mistreat them.”
Battersea has campaigned for stronger sentences for animal abusers in Scotland since August 2017.
At 12 months, the current maximum sentence for animal cruelty is amongst the lowest across the whole of Europe – with only five other countries having lower sentences (including England and Wales).
Horton added: “The Scottish government has now delivered their promise on tackling animal cruelty. It is now time Westminster stopped delaying and followed suit.”