Existing Users

Access your account, submit a petition & check the progress of your petition.

Forgotten password?

Remember me

New user? Sign up now

Background Info

Referring to the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, it states under section 19 that a person commits an offence if they cause a protected animal unnecessary suffering by an act, and the person knew, or ought to have reasonably have known, that the act would have caused suffering or be likely to do so.

As reference, a protected animal is described under section 17 as an animal which is commonly domesticated in the British Islands, under the control of man on a permanent or temporary basis, or not living in a wild state.

Now, the penalties for causing an offence under sections 19 (unnecessary suffering) and 23 (animal fighting) is imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or to a fine exceeding £20,000 or both. The penalty for causing an offence for any other parts (covering mutilation, cruel operations, and administer of poisons etc) is imprisonment not exceeding 6 months or to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to both.

Mutilation, cruel operations and administer of poisons etc is still causing an animal unnecessary suffering. To half the penalty because the suffering has been brought about in a different way is illogical.

Psychological studies have revealed that animal abuse is often a warning sign of serious emotional disturbance which can develop into extreme violence. It was found that 5% of U.S children had intentionally caused harm to an animal, compared to 10-25% of children at mental health clinics. It is also often the first sign of serious disturbance amongst killers. Councillors evaluated inmates for levels of aggression, it was found that amongst the most violent, 70% had serious and repeated animal abuse histories, compared to just 6% of those deemed as non-violent. (Melson G, Ph.D, 'Do Mass Killers Start Out by Harming Pets?')

The punishment in place for causing an offence under this Act is insufficient for the level of crime committed. There are harsher punishments for lesser crimes. The maximum sentence does not discourage people to commit the offence, and judging by the amount of video footage of animal abuse acts being carried out on websites such as Facebook, the amount of animals in rescue centres who have been abused and/or used in dog fighting rings, as well as dogs being stolen for dog fighting; this is an ongoing problem. It was reported that 2013 was the busiest year for the SSPCA, due to people abusing and neglecting their pets.(The Scotsman, SSPCA: 2013 'busiest year ever for animal chairty)

By not punishing animal abusers sufficiently, it is putting a potential risk on members on the public as many go on to commit violence on people. I therefore urge the Scottish Parliament to call on the Scottish Government to amend the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006, recommending that 12 months sentence be a minimum, and not a maximum. It may also be an idea to rehabilitate offenders as there is strong evidence to suggest that it is a deep rooted problem. It is not only important to protect animals, but to protect people.

This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.