Tougher jail sentences for animal cruelty cases welcomed

Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID
Hartlepool MP Mike Hill. Picture by FRANK REID
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Tougher punishments for offenders guilty of animal cruelty have been welcomed by Hartlepool’s MP.

Mike Hill, the town’s Member of Parliament, said a planned increase in prison sentences from six months to five years for the worst forms of harm was the right thing for the government to do.

Environment secretary Michael Gove confirmed an increase in the maximum jail sentences at this week’s Conservative conference.

Mr Hill said: “Unfortunately there have been far too many serious cases of animal cruelty, which in anybody’s mind would warrant punishment well beyond the current maximum of six months.

“Most recently the case in Redcar of a dog buried alive with a nail in his head brings this into sharp focus. I am pleased that the Government has listened to campaigners and intends to do the right thing.”

Mr Hill is also urging Mr Gove to honour previous commitments to convert Article 13 of the Lisbon Treaty into UK law under the Great Repeal (Brexit) Bill, which recently passed its second reading in the Commons.

He said: “Article 13 categorises Animals as ‘sentient’ beings for the purposes of their treatment, welfare and protection under law.

“Sadly the Brexit, or Great Repeal Bill, which converts EU Regulations into UK law is silent on this matter therefore on behalf of Constituents who have approached me I am seeking reassurances again from the Minister that the Regulations will be adopted as promised.”

The new maximum sentence brings England into line with Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.