This petition was submitted during the 2010–2015 Conservative – Liberal Democrat coalition government

Petition Increase the Maximum Sentence for Animal Cruelty

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The law is failing to adequately protect animals/pets and ensure that the punishment administered to those responsible for acts of cruelty towards them fits the crime.

Under the Animal Welfare Act, the term of imprisonment for even the most heinous does not exceed 51 weeks, and all too often abusers of family pets and domestic animals are “getting away with murder". A lifetime ban and/or fine is insufficient. There is no excuse.

We would like to see the current law amended and the term of imprisonment increased to 2 years at the very least, bringing it in line with other serious criminal offences.

This petition is closed This petition ran for 6 months

14,188 signatures


Government responded

This response was given on 12 August 2014

As this e-petition has received more than 10 000 signatures, the relevant Government department have provided the following response:

The Government abhors animal cruelty. Powers for local authorities and police to investigate and take action in cases of suspected cruelty are provided in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Under the 2006 Act, the maximum penalty for causing unnecessary suffering is a fine of £20,000 or six months imprisonment, or both. In addition, the court can impose post-conviction penalties on anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal by disqualifying anyone from having any influence over the keeping of animals for as long as the court see fit.

This e-petition remains open to signatures and will be considered for debate by the Backbench Business Committee should it pass the 100 000 signature threshold.