IF you find cruelty to animals distressing you’ll soon sleep better at night.
Last week Minister for Agriculture Adam Marshall announced animal cruelty legislation to dramatically increase financial penalties and gaol time, and introduce new offences to prevent those who do the wrong thing from being allowed to own, care for or breed animals again in NSW.
The legislation will be introduced into State Parliament this month.
“Cruelty towards animals is one of the lowest acts and for too long our penalties here in NSW have lagged behind where they need to be,” Mr Marshall said.
“Just last month we set up a dedicated unit with the RSPCA to crack down on puppy factories.”
“Now, when they are found, the full force of the law will be felt if they are not complying with both our breeding codes and animal cruelty laws.”
Mr Marshall emphasised that even after the bill becomes law the crusade will by no means be over.
“Everyone – from those neglecting their pet in the backyard to covert puppy factory grubs – should be on notice from today; do the right thing or face the consequences,” he said.
“The message is clear, if you abuse animals, or simply fail to care for them, you will get caught and it will cost you.”
Mr Marshall is proposing substantial increases to penalties under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA) as follows:
• Cruelty – increased from $5,500 fine (current) to $44,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment for individuals and $220,000 for corporations for each individual act of cruelty;
• Aggravated Cruelty – increased from $22,000 fine (current) to $110,000 and/or 2 years’ imprisonment for individuals and $550,000 for corporations for each individual act;
• Fail to Provide Food & Shelter – Increased from $5,500 fine (current) to $16,500 and/or six months’ imprisonment for individuals and $82,500 for corporations for each individual act.
RSPCA NSW CEO, Steve Coleman said, “Today’s announcement by the NSW Government is a major win for animals in NSW.”
“The increased penalties and sentencing will work towards being a deterrent which is what prosecuting people is meant to be about.”
Mr Coleman said the Minister’s announcement sets the scene for the toughest penalties and sentencing provisions in Australia and asked for every politician to get behind the legislative changes.
Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said that he welcomes the proposed changes, adding, “We know that most people in our region and right across the State do the right thing and look after their animals, but unfortunately there are some who don’t.”
“We will work with our enforcement agencies, the NSW Police, RSPCA and Animal Welfare League, to ensure these harsh new penalties are applied,” he said.
By Monika KOZLOVSKIS