The Scottish Government have launched a consultation seeking views on proposals to strengthen enforcement powers for animal welfare offences.
Proposed amendments to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 would increase the maximum penalty for the most serious cruelty offences from one to five years imprisonment, and a potential unlimited fine. These new tougher penalties could also apply to attacks against service animals, supporting the initiative ‘Finn’s Law.’
Other changes would allow quicker rehoming of abused or neglected animals and give enforcement authorities the ability to issue fixed penalty notices.
SNP Councillor Natalie Don has welcomed the consultation and the proposed legislative changes.
She said: “I know this is a subject close to many people’s hearts, it is certainly something I feel very passionately about. I cannot understand how anyone could mistreat an animal and these proposed changes which would see more power to local enforcement and tougher laws is welcome.”
“The SNP made strong commitments to improve the welfare of our animals in our Programme for Government and the Scottish Government is taking bold steps to this aim. I hope that strengthening these powers will send a strong message that such abhorrent behaviour is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”
“The Scottish Government are seeking views from key stakeholders and those with practical experience of animal cruelty to ensure that any steps which are taken are feasible. I know there are many animal welfare charities who do a fantastic job in Renfrewshire and I would encourage all to take part in this consultation to allow a wide range of views to be heard.”