Harsher penalties for animal cruelty

The Herald reports:

A first-term National Party MP is seeking cross-party support for a law change for harsher penalties in cases of extreme cruelty to animals.

Tauranga MP has drafted a private member’s bill to raise the maximum penalty for wilful ill-treatment under the Act from three to five years in prison.

Mr Bridges said tougher penalties for animal abuse were backed by research showing cruelty to animals was an early warning sign of more psychopathic violence later in life.

Murderer Antonie Dixon was an example of this, said Mr Bridges.

“It is time to get tough on really serious animal cruelty. The public’s attitude has hardened on this and so should court sentences,” said the former Crown prosecutor.

“This is about sending a message that Parliament thinks this offending is abhorrent to our society. It’s more than not okay, it’s an outrage.”

I hope all parties will support this bill, if selected. Increasing the maximum penalties is the only way to send a message to Judges that they should increase the penalties they are handing out, which are too light in my opinion:

For example, Wayne Williams, 34, was sentenced to four months in jail for beating his partner’s dog with a metal pole before strangling it to death.

And Peter James Cooksley, 48, shot a cat with a crossbow bolt through the abdomen for entering his house – but was fined just $500. Mr Kerridge said many acts of animal cruelty were committed by people to torment their partners, including a case where a man was sent to prison for 2 months for throwing three kittens against a wall.

The longest sentence ever given out has been 12 months, reduced to 10 months on appeal.

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