To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guidance is provided to magistrates and judges about when it is appropriate to apply the maximum tariff available in cases of animal cruelty.
2 November 2015
Animal cruelty is a summary offence with a maximum penalty of a level 5 (unlimited) fine and/or 6 months’ imprisonment. The maximum penalty for any offence is set by Parliament to deal with the most serious possible cases. Guidance on sentencing for this offence is contained in the Magistrates’ Courts Sentencing Guidelines, which are published by the independent Sentencing Council.
These are the sentencing starting points from the guidelines for animal cruelty, based on a first time offender pleading not guilty:
Examples of nature of activity
Starting point Range
One impulsive act causing little or no injury;
short term neglect
Band C fine Band B fine to medium level community
Several incidents of deliberate ill-treatment/frightening
High level community order
Medium level community order to 12 weeks custody
Attempt to kill/torture; animal baiting/conducting or permitting cock-fighting etc.; prolonged neglect
18 weeks custody
12 to 26 weeks custody