Alliance Assembly member Trevor Lunn has welcomed the decision of Justice Minister David Ford to increase the penalties on those convicted of animal cruelty.
Trevor Lunn said: “I welcome the swift action of Alliance Justice Minister David Ford in including these new penalties in the Justice Bill currently going through the Assembly. This sends a clear message that anyone convicted of cruelty to defenceless animals could face up to five years in prison.
“There had been a local suggestion to regard theft of pets as animal cruelty, but this is outside the current legislative proposals and would be dealt with as a separate offence.”
Those convicted of animal cruelty can now expect; increased maximum sentences for Crown Court cases raised from 2 years to 5 years, increased maximum sentences for Magistrates’ Court cases raised from 6 months to 12 months, maximum Magistrates’ Court fines increasing from £5000 to £20000.