News Cruelty Sentences Increased In Scotland

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Cruelty sentences increased in Scotland
23rd June 2020

Animal welfare charity Battersea has praised the Scottish Government and MSPs from across Parliament for delivering on their promise to increase maximum sentences for the worst animal cruelty offences.

The Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill first introduced in October last year, passed its third and final reading on June 17.

For Battersea, this saw the culmination of many years of campaigning to raise Scotland’s maximum sentences to five years, in line with many other countries in Europe. The charity first launched its campaign to increase maximum sentencing in Scotland in 2017 and have been encouraged by the Scottish Government’s commitment to this change in law.

This 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.

Research published by Battersea in 2017 showed that the maximum sentence of 12 months for animal cruelty was among the lowest across the whole of Europe – with only five other countries having lower sentences (including England and Wales). Both fly tipping and theft carried higher sentences.

Battersea has been calling on the Government in England and Wales to follow Scotland’s example. The Bill has been published twice before but fell during the prorogation of Parliament in October 2019, and a second time when a general election was called in December.

A Private Member’s Bill brought in by Chris Loder MP is currently seeking to introduce these measures, but has now been delayed until October 23, five months after its original date for discussion in Westminster.