I have long complained about the inadequacy of sentences handed down for animal cruelty so I am delighted that Michael Gove plans to increase the maximum jail term to five years.
The current maximum of six months is woefully low and with an automatic third off for a guilty plea very few people are actually put behind bars for such offending behaviour. I hope that the proposals also include the imposition of far longer bans on animal ownership.
The case of two brothers given a suspended sentence at Hartlepool Magistrates for appalling cruelty to a young bulldog – which they had sickeningly videod – is a case I highlighted at the time as demonstrating the need for a change in the law.
We are known as a country of animal lovers and this proposed change is very long overdue. The Sentencing Council needs to ensure that when it is on the statute book the guidelines they issue actually results in deterrent sentences so these thugs don’t keep walking away laughing.