ANIMAL lovers are rejoicing after a tough new offence designed to protect all of Queensland’s creatures, great and small will see animal torturers face up to seven years jail – almost double the existing penalty.
The new indictable offence of serious animal cruelty will carry a maximum penalty of seven years in prison and will target people who intentionally inflict severe pain and suffering upon an animal.
Mark Townend from RSPCA Qld has applauded the proposed changes and said he hoped that they would act as a deterrent.
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“This reflects community expectations,” Mr Townend said.
“Over the years we’ve seen public outrage when offenders walk free after being convicted of serious animal cruelty.
“Luckily we see very few of these extreme cases but when they occur the offenders need to be held accountable.”
Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Jarrod Bleijie said the new offence would nearly double the penalty for existing animal cruelty offences.
“Animals feel fear and pain just like us and inflicting suffering on them is inexcusable,” Mr Bleijie said.
“To many of us, animals are part of the family and they deserve to be protected from people who think it’s okay.
“This new offence will send a clear message that serious animal cruelty will not be tolerated.”
Mr Bleijie said the RSPCA would also play a major role in bringing animal torturers to justice.
“The RSPCA’s work to help and protect animals from harm is recognised and applauded worldwide,” he said.
“Like other animal cruelty offences, the RSPCA will be able to investigate and commence proceedings against someone accused of this new offence.
“Our inspectors and staff have seen the horrific aftermath of serious cruelty to animals and a strong punishment and deterrent is needed.
“We would also like to see Magistrates recommending psychological assessment for offenders because the link between animal cruelty and future abuse of people has been well documented.”