Caroline Lucas demands tougher sentences for animal cruelty
Caroline Lucas has been putting pressure on the Government to make changes to animal cruelty legislation in the wake of last year’s spate of cat killings in the Brighton area.
Late last year, a 52-year-old man was charged over a series of attacks on 16 cats which left 9 animals dead. He is due to appear in Lewes Crown Court later this week, having pleaded not guilty at a Brighton Magistrates’ Court hearing last month.
However, Green MP Lucas has criticised the “bizarre” nature of current animal cruelty legislation, which means the accused is actually being charged with criminal damage:
Following a complex investigation and subsequent arrest, it took the police many months to be able to get to a point where they were able to charge a suspect.
In law, pets are currently deemed property, and it is the cause of much frustration that current animal cruelty legislation means that the accused is being charged with criminal damage, rather than animal cruelty.
Bizarrely, animal cruelty is a less serious offence than criminal damage too. At present, the crimes of fly tipping and theft can receive higher sentences than animal cruelty.
The Government has made some steps towards strengthening sentences for animal cruelty offences, but the changes they proposed did not complete their passage through Parliament and therefore fell when Parliament was prorogued last year.
Pressure groups are also fighting to see the principle of animal sentience finally pushed over the line and into law.
In an attempt to draw attention to these issues, Lucas has tabled 2 motions to Parliament, which she hopes will receive cross-party support.
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