Last year, a Shropshire woman in a drunken stupor, sliced off the heads of her two pet snakes and tried to swallow them. Her punishment? A suspended sentence. In Lancashire, a man was fined fined just £270 for putting his wife’s cat in the tumble dryer.
These are just two of the thousands of horror stories of animal cruelty in England and Wales. Beheadings, beatings, neglect and other acts of abuse that would make many lose faith in the kindness of our fellow man. Yet, equally as troubling as the crimes themselves is the fact that - in England and Wales - animal abusers rarely receive real punishment.
In fact, between 2005 to 2015, nearly 14,000 people were convicted of animal cruelty, but more than 90% of them avoided prison time, and many received barely more than a slap on the wrist.
At present, England and Wales have the lowest maximum sentence for animal cruelty in all of Europe - six months in prison. And even that negligible punishment is rarely meted out.
Currently activist are trying to change that. Campaigners are working to convince the government to raise the maximum punishment from six months to five years. This would bring maximum sentences in line with those of Northern Ireland.
Animal abuse is no joke and it shouldn’t be treated as such. England and Wales needs to take these crimes seriously to protect the lives of the animals that have brought us so much happiness. Please sign the petition and ask Environment Secretary Michael Gove to end animal cruelty leniency and raise maximum punishments to five years in prison.