The Scottish Labour Party has proposed legislation that might increase penalties for animal cruelty charges in Scotland. If passed, violators of the new law would confront to 5 years in jail and a vast amount of fines.
The bill—entitled the Animals and Wildlife (Penalties, Protections and Powers) (Scotland) Bill—was introduced in Parliament last September. It amends the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act of 2006 and therefore the Animal Health Act of 1981. The bill unanimously passed its first stage in March and its second stage on May 26.
The Animals and Wildlife Bill aims to provide further protections to Scotland’s animals and wildlife. The bill also will introduce Finn’s Law. it had been named after a police dog that was stabbed within the line of duty. Finn’s Law aims to strengthen protections for service animals like police dogs and horses.
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But the Scottish Labour Party wants the bill to enforce harsher punishments for animal abusers. The group has called for amendments to the bill that might maximize punishments for severe animal cruelty crimes—such as cases of poisonings, abandonment, and mutilation.
“This Bill may be a step within the right direction, but Scottish Labour has listened to calls from animal welfare charities that it doesn’t go far enough,” Colin Smyth, Scottish Labour Party politician, told STV News.
He continued: “In its current form, a number of the foremost heinous crimes against animals like poisoning and mutilation will still carry far too light a sentence. [T]hat may be a loophole that has got to be closed. All animals are sentient—and cruelty to animals should be treated as a significant crime with serious consequences.”