Orkney MSP Liam McArthur has given his support to calls by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home and others for tougher sentences for animal cruelty.
This follows news that the UK government is set to increase sentences for animal welfare offences south of the border to up to five years, a policy proposed in the Liberal Democrat manifesto earlier this year.
The campaign led by Battersea Dogs & Cats Home has seen research published showing that Scotland has among the lowest sentences for animal cruelty in Europe, the United States and Australia. Under current laws, offenders in Scotland could potentially get a more severe punishment for dumping litter than they would for torturing or killing an animal.
Orkney’s MSP has written to the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, to add his support to calls for a change. The Scottish Government appears willing to respond to such calls, having included a commitment in their recent Programme for Government earlier this month.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
“When it comes to tackling animal cruelty, Scotland has amongst the lowest sentences in Europe, with the maximum prison sentence as short as twelve months. However, many of the worst cases involve extreme and premeditated cruelty.
“A short-term prison sentence does not reflect the seriousness of these offences. Increased sentences can and should send a clear message that habitual or grave cruelty of animals will not be tolerated.”