RUTH MAGUIRE MSP WELCOMES SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT ACTION

On Wednesday 20th September, SNP MSP for Cunninghame South, Ruth Maguire, joined animal welfare charities to welcome the Scottish Government’s newly announced intention to introduce tougher sentencing for animal cruelty offences.

The 2016-17 Programme for Government set out on Thursday 5th September included a commitment to increasing the maximum sentence for animal cruelty from 12 months to five years’ imprisonment – with fixed penalty notices to be introduced for less serious offences.

Animal welfare charities such as the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, the Scottish SPCA, and Blue Cross, have long campaigned for higher maximum sentences for animal – pointing out that the current 12-month sentence in Scotland is amongst the lowest across the whole of Europe, with only five other areas – including England and Wales – having lower sentences for animal cruelty.

The Scottish Government will now bring forward a Bill to increase the maximum prison sentence for serious abuse cases.

Commenting, Ruth said:

“Cruelty and neglect of animals is completely unacceptable, and that is why I welcome the Scottish Government’s commitment to increasing the maximum sentence for those who abuse animals to five years’ imprisonment.

Organisations such as the Scottish SPCA do wonderful work in preventing cruelty to animals and in making sure that animal welfare law in Scotland is enforced.

When trusted expert organisations point out areas where the law could be improved, I think that it’s incumbent upon us all to listen to them and consider their advice carefully.

The Scottish Government has done this – and is now leading the way in the UK by answering the call of animal welfare charities for tougher sentences.

I look forward to supporting the Scottish Government with other parties to ensure that this pledge now becomes law.”