Cookie use on MRCVSonline
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
Send Cancel

Animal cruelty sentences to rise to five years
“We are a nation of animal lovers and so we must ensure that those who commit the most shocking cruelty towards animals face suitably tough punishments."
Michael Gove pledges to increase maximum penalty

Jail sentences for animal cruelty are set to rise to a maximum of five years, Defra announced on Saturday (30 September).

Currently the maximum sentence is just six months, but this is set to change following a number of high profile cases of animal abuse, and campaigning by the UK’s animal welfare charities.

The new legislation will empower courts to better deal with the most serious cases of animal abuse, including gangs involved with organised dog fights. It brings England into line with other countries such as Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Announcing plans for the new legislation, environment secretary Michael Gove, said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and so we must ensure that those who commit the most shocking cruelty towards animals face suitably tough punishments.

“These plans will give courts the tools they have requested to deal with the most abhorrent acts.”

Under the new plans, the courts will still be able to hand out an unlimited fine and ban offenders from owning animals.

The chief executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, Claire Horton, said she was “thrilled” about the government’s plans.

“This shows that the political will is there to make the punishment fit the crime and so many innocent animals will benefit from their actions. This news will be very positively received by the public, the majority of whom share Battersea’s wish to see this change.”

Battersea has campaigned for five year sentences since February, and since then over 60,000 people have urged their MPs to back the change, and 145 politicians already have.

The RSPCA also welcomed the change, with the head of public affairs David Bowles saying: “We now feel that those who commit these acts will soon be receiving sentences that reflect the seriousness of their crime and hope this will act as a real deterrent against cruelty and neglect…

“The strength of feeling behind a move to toughen up these sentences is huge - but at the moment the courts are limited by the law under which the strongest sentence for animal cruelty is six months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine - but this rarely happens.”

Draft legislation will be published, ready for consultation, around the turn of the year.

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Charity reveals it treated thousands of pets with dental issues last year

News Story 1
 Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has revealed that its veterinary team performs dental procedures on more than 170 animals every month. Last year the charity says it extracted hundreds of teeth from more than 800 animals and carried out thousands of routine scales and polishes.

To combat the problem, Battersea is urging pet owners to get regular dental checks at their vets, implement a daily oral care routine, feed a good dental chew and only give toys that are designed for dogs, including gentle rubber toys that are less wearing on the teeth. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
Voting opens for RCVS council elections

Eligible veterinary surgeons can now vote in this year’s RCVS Council elections. Four out of the 10 candidates are already on council and are standing for re-election: David Catlow, Mandisa Greene, Neil Smith, Susan Paterson. The remaining six candidates are not currently on council: John C Davies, Karlien Heyman, John Innes, Thomas Lonsdale, Matthew Plumtree and Iain Richards.

Further information on the candidates can be found on the RCVS website: