On September 2017, the United Kingdom's Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Animal and Plant Health (DEFRA) posted a note on the Gov.uk website. It was titled "Sentences for animal cruelty to increase tenfold to five years." Animal activists received the news with welcome arms. The government was finally going to take animal cruelty seriously, giving the most egregious abusers real jail time rather than a slap on the wrist.
In the U.K., animal abusers regularly get off with little or no punishment. People responsible for unspeakable violence and neglect towards animals get laughable animal ownership bans, have fines levied or receive postponed sentences. These "punishments" are pathetic compared to the amount of suffering endured by the animal victims.
Take the case of 50-year-old Dylan Marcus Edwards from Llanrwst in Conwy county. Edwards was working as a chef at the Royal Oak Hotel. One day in December of 2016, when Cali the cat snuck into the hotel kitchen. Edwards and his coworkers tried to shoo it out to no avail, when the cat defecated in the kitchen, Edwards had had enough. He and his colleagues trapped Cali under the fridge, and then he grabbed the feline, threw it in a black bag and beat it with a piece of wood.
The story rocked locals. Thousands of people demanded justice for Cali but in the end, the Llandudno Magistrates' Court gave Edwards a suspended prison sentence, 250 hours of community service and an £865 fine. If Edwards stays out of trouble for two years he won't have to serve any time.
The proposed sentence increase for animal abusers known as the Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill is meant to punish those abusers who've committed the most extreme cases of cruelty. Abusers like Edwards. But since the government notified the public of the proposed the bill, it still hasn't become law — and thousands of animals have been abused in that time. Their abusers are getting a veritable free pass.
This must stop. Animal cruelty should not be taken lightly, those who commit violence against animals are much more likely to commit violence against humans. When the government lets people off the hook for abusing animals, they are also letting a potentially violent criminal back onto the streets. The U.K. must pass and implement the Animal Welfare (Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience) Bill to ensure, that in the future, animal abusers like Edwards serve real time behind bars.
Please sign the petition and tell the government to pass the bill now.