A mum says we need harsher sentences for animal cruelty, following ‘chillingly evil’ act

Support us and go ad-free

Amanda Bibby from Aberdeenshire is calling for more severe punishments for animal cruelty. It comes after Daniel Innes, 20, and Jordan McIsaac, 18, shredded Bibby’s pet gecko in a blender. She said it affected her 12-year-old daughter “quite extremely because the images she has in her head will not go away”.

In Scotland, the maximum prison time for cruelty against animals is one year. The maximum sentence in England and Wales is six months (with the average prison term being 3.3 months). In contrast, the toughest sentence in Northern Ireland and Ireland is five years.

A ‘chillingly evil’ act

Sheriff Philip Mann told Innes and McIsaac that their crime was “chillingly evil” and a “matter of great concern”. Mann suggested that the two young men contact the Scottish SPCA animal charity, asking if they can make amends. If the two young men return to Banff Sheriff Court in October with a positive letter from the charity, the sheriff says he won’t send Innes and McIsaac to jail. He advised them to demonstrate that they felt remorse for what they had done.

Bibby believes that sentences should reflect the severity of the crime. If Innes and McIsaac avoid jail time, what would this say about the criminal justice system? Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner Martyn Underhill argues that penalties for animal cruelty in England and Wales are “extremely lenient” and “totally inadequate”.

Underhill refers to a recent report which found that 92% of offenders who abused pets over the last 10 years managed to avoid prison time. As a nation of supposed pet lovers, we consistently disregard the welfare of these animals. Underhill added that Britain is “far laxer” than other countries when it comes to these crimes. The law makes animal cruelty a less serious crime than fly-tipping and, in Bibby’s view, fails to act as a deterrent.

The government’s view 

What does the government have to say in regards to current animal cruelty legislation? In its view, “we have the best animal welfare in the world and we are a nation of animal lovers”. The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee stressed that the law needs to be changed. In a report, it stated:

The current penalties for animal welfare offences in England are amongst the lowest in Europe. We recommend that the maximum penalty is increased to five years.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

This is what Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is campaigning for. And the campaign has widespread support. But in response to the committee’s suggestion, the government said:

Current sentencing practice for offences of animal cruelty in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 does not suggest that the courts are finding current sentencing powers inadequate.

The government isn’t moved by the fact that animal cruelty is on the rise. Nor does it care that only 8% of offenders receive jail time for their crimes. The government’s refusal to acknowledge the problem, and its insistence on maintaining standards which harm animals, means that change could be hard to come by.

Get Involved!

Write to your MP about raising the maximum sentence for animal cruelty, and support Battersea.

– Support the RSPCA.

Featured image via Pxhere

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed