Jail, huge fines: Push for harsher animal cruelty penalties
THE RSPCA says it is "absolutely supportive" of a proposal that would make NSW's penalties for animal cruelty offences the harshest in Australia.
Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall plans to introduce legislation to parliament that would increase maximum financial penalties and prison time.
It would also introduce new powers to ban an individual from ever being allowed to own, care for or breed an animal.
RSPCA NSW chief executive, Steve Coleman, welcomed the proposed changes.
He said many of their supporters felt that sentences for cruelty offenders were currently "inadequate".
"For animal cruelty offenders, the message is that courts will be empowered to deal with them appropriately, in line with community expectation," he said.
"For us, the introduction of lifetime bans will help address repeat offenders, which sadly is one of the biggest issues we encounter, and the increased penalties will make people think twice before committing the offences.
"These changes represent an important development in the conversation about animal cruelty.
"It is clear how seriously and how strongly the community feels about this issue and we hope that parliamentarians get behind this.
"Most importantly, we welcome these changes because they will help protect more animals from suffering."
The proposed penalty increases are:
● For committing an act of cruelty: Fine increased from $5500 and/or 6 months' imprisonment to $44,000 and/or 12 months' imprisonment for individuals, and $220,000 for corporations.
● For committing an act of aggravated cruelty: Fine increased from $22,000 to $110,000 and/or 2 years' imprisonment for individuals, and $550,000 for corporations.
● For failing to provide proper and sufficient food, drink or shelter: Fine increased from $5,500 to $16,5000 and/or 6 months' imprisonment for individuals, and $82,500 for corporations.