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People found guilty of terrible animal cruelty will face up to five years in prison under a new law proposed for England and Wales.
At present, the current maximum term given to those convicted of grave animal abuse is six months whereas the new parliamentary bill would see the worst offenders sentenced to five years.
Longer jail terms will be handed to those convicted of abusing puppies and kittens, gross neglect of farm animals; including horses and cattle, or dog fighting.
The bill was announced in parliament on Wednesday (26th June) by Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who said he hopes the new law will reinforce the UK as a nation of animal lovers.
He said: "There is no place in this country for animal cruelty. That is why I want to make sure that those who abuse animals are met with the full force of the law.
"Our new Bill sends a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated, with the maximum five-year sentence one of the toughest punishments in Europe.
"I am committed to making our country the best place in the world for the care and protection of animals."
Gove's announcement has been backed by ministers, who have said the law builds on government action plans to protect animals.
The harsher punishment for animal cruelty also comes after puppy farms were made illegal and a ban on wild animals in travelling circuses.
The news comes weeks after it was announced it that it is now a criminal offence to injure a police dog or horse.
Finn's Law will close a legal loophole when it came into effect earlier this month, which previously meant these animals were treated as the police force's property.
Because of the loophole, criminals who hurt police horses and dogs managed to get away with lighter sentences.
The law is amid after ex-service dog Finn, who almost died when he was stabbed through the head and chest in 2016 while protecting his handler, PC David Wardell.
The 16-year-old perpetrator who hurt Finn was just charged with criminal damage, because of the previous law.
He was sentenced to just four months in a detention centre and received a four month community order.
This understandably saw public outcry and prompted PC Wardell to tirelessly campaign to protect service dogs and horses in the line of duty in the future in England and Wales.
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