Animal Cruelty Prosecutions

Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, owners and keepers of animals are obliged to care for their animals properly and ensure that their welfare needs are met.

The five basic needs are as follows:

  • A suitable environment
  • A suitable diet
  • The ability to exhibit normal behaviour
  • House with, or apart from, other animals
  • Protection from pain, suffering, injury and disease.

A person may be in breach of the act, if they do, or fail to do something which causes an animal to suffer unnecessarily.

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Summary of Animal Welfare Act:-

  • Unnecessary suffering (section 4) – doing or failing to do something which, you knew or ought to have known would cause unnecessary suffering.
  • Mutilation (section 5) – it is an offence to carry out, or cause to be carried out a prohibited procedure.
  • Tail docking (section 6)- it is an offence to remove or cause to be removed the whole of or any part of a dogs tail other than for the purpose of medical treatment. There are limited exceptions to this.
  • Administration of Poisons (section 7)- it is an offence to administer or cause a poisonous or injurious drug to be taken, knowing it to be injurious.
  • Dog Fighting (section 8)- it is an offence to cause or associate with an animal fight.
  • Duty of care (section 9)- it is an offence not to ensure the needs of the animal are met.
  • Sale of dogs (section 11) – it is an offence to sell a dog to someone you have reasonable cause to believe is under 16.

Under section 12 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 the government has the power to make regulations for the purpose of promoting animal welfare

The government has published a Code of Practice for the welfare of dogs (section 14)