Are the courts handing out lesser sentences to defendants who have been charged with animal abuse?
After the horrific arson attack on Manchester Dogs Home where more than 60 animals were confirmed to have been killed, I investigate whether the courts have become lenient on punishing people who commit despicable acts of indispensable violence against defenceless animals.
The 15 year-old male arrested on suspicion of arson will likely face no action against the unlawful killing of 60 dogs, who died as a result of the fire. Essentially the deaths will go unpunished, no change to the trend of other cases that have made a mockery of the already scrutinised 2006 Animal Welfare Act.
In 2012 a detailed report from the RSPCA revealed the organisation had a 10% rise in animals (including dogs, cats and rabbits, just to name a few) that were rescued, the number rose to around 131,000.
In addition convictions for animal abuse rose to a staggering 33.8%, from 3,114 in 2011 to 4,168 in 2012. The highest amount of cases since 2008. Staggeringly only 86 people out of 4,168 were actually sentenced to pitiful prison sentences for the crimes they committed; the majority of people were given suspended sentences.
Below are just a few of the examples of horrific cases that have resulted in no justice being handed now:
David Lowe was found guilty and convicted of multiple counts of cruelty against animals after starving a dog to the bare bones, leaving the only humane action to have the dog put down.
He escaped prison after being sentenced for 12 weeks, suspended for 18 months:
Samuel Byatt was given an eight-week suspended sentence for 12 months for kicking his dog after he wandered into the local CO-OP store he was shopping in. The kick reportedly sent the dog 8-10 feet in the other direction: (http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Pet-owner-spared-jail-kicking-Staffy-near-shop/story-19858924-detail/story.html)
Katie Gammon abandoned and starved her dog in her kitchen, leading to the dog passing away due to starvation. She left the house for nine weeks and claimed the smell was to bad to live with.
She was sentenced for JUST 18 weeks in prison:
One of the most horrendous cases involved Kim Edmonds who slashed one of her springer spaniel 31 times with an unknown weapon, she slashed the other dog slightly less. She then disgustingly lied claiming an intruder was the reason for the despicable crime.
She was jailed for just 20 weeks (not even half of the maximum sentence readily available under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act).
The 2006 Animal Welfare Act underlines the following maximum punishments for animal abuse cases as 51 weeks in prison and a fine up to £20,000, under section 9 of the act.
According to the RSCPA website, "The act laces a duty of care on people to ensure they take reasonable steps in all the circumstances to meet the welfare needs of their animals to the extent required by good practice".
The only problem is the maximum punishment allowed is hardly-fitting to some of the crimes that are being committed.
In reference to the arson attack at Manchester Dogs Home the youth has been charged with suspected arson, but outrageously no charges have been given for the deaths of 60 defenceless dogs. I find it disgusting that some of the sentences hardly reflect the suffering of those poor animals. The minimum term for arson is five years, no doubt a lesser sentence will be handed down to the sick perpetrator.
A very recent case involved four thugs (two named, two unnamed) who tortured and killed a poor white lion-headed rabbit. The four individuals will be sentenced at the start of next month. What is the betting another pitiful sentence will be handed down to these cowardly evil-minded individuals?
I personally feel that the youth should face another charge of animal cruelty on top of the arson charge he is already facing. Even then I don't think just under a year (51 weeks in prison) is enough for starting a fire that killed over 60 dogs. The law needs reviewing as soon as possible so that harsher sentences are handed down to people who think they can get away with animal abuse.
- To date £1.2 million has been raised in charitable donations to help re-build the destroyed parts of Manchester Dogs Home. To donate to this cause, please follow the link below: https://www.justgiving.com/dogshome/.
Chris Austin (@TheVacantPage) contributed with some of the cases mentioned in the article.