Animal Safety is in your hands

by AmandaMcc on March 19, 2017 - 8:49pm


The current laws in place to punish those who would kill and abuse innocent animals are much too lax and do not properly punish the offenders. Currently, the punishment for injuring or killing an animal is no more than 2 years in jail or they are liable to pay find of no more than 5 thousand dollars or be imprisoned for no more than six months. The punishment for causing unnecessary suffering, which is to give a harmful substance, making the animals fight ect... Is going to jail for no more than five years, or paying a fine of ten thousand dollars and going to jail for no more than eighteen months. These people get off to easy for some of the horrible things that they have done to some innocent animals. 

On March 1 2017, two men, named Richard Finch and Michael Heathcock, were sentenced to four months in jail after they beat a dog, hammered a nail through its head and burying the dog alive. They only received four months in jail for this despicable crime. Though they did receive a life time ban on having any other animals. The article “Cheers in court as thugs who buried blind dog alive after driving nail into its head are JAILED” from the Mirror, describes the horrible event and why they did it. The dog, called Scamp, was discovered by a walker after the walker heard grunting coming from the mound the dog was buried under. According to John Ellwood, the RSPCA solicitor, Heathcock had owned the dog for over fifteen years and told the RSPCA that Scamp had started to go deaf, blind and had lost the use of his back legs. Both men believed that they were “doing the right thing” by putting the dog out of his misery. The vet the Scamp was taken too, Mark Webster, stated that “it was the worst case of animal cruelty he had ever seen.” The reason as to why they did this was because Heathcock had a restricted income and the cost to put Scamp down was too much. Both men got off to easy for the crime that they committed.


Many people believe that the punishments are to lax when it comes to animal rights, Downtown Abbey actor, Peter Egan, called for harsher punishments for animal cruelty. Activists want the maximum punishments for animal abusers to be increased from six months to at least three years and called for a “national database of offenders banned” from even owning an animal again. Egan, who is now the charity’s vice president, stated that “the sentencing for animal cruelty is far too [merciful]” and that it shows  little respect for the offence and effects the crime has on animals and those close to the animal”. We need something to deter these crimes from happening again. The league has also called for dog fights to become a specific felony rather than it staying under general animal cruelty laws. If the laws that we put in place is to ever work as a real restraint to any type of animal abuse, the current maximum six month sentence has to be increased to at least three years. Anna Turley. A labor MP, who is leading the proposal to increase the maximum sentences warned that the “current sentences available to courts to punish animal abuse are not working”.  Turley also added that most of the time, the perpetrators of cruel acts towards animals often get away with little punishment, most of the time it’s like a “slap on the wrist”. I agree with Turley when she says that if we do not properly punish the people who do this to animals then as a society we are basically legitimizing animal abuse. Clearly the perpetrators do not fear the law as they still do this despicable acts. So we have to make the laws harder if we want this to stop.

Recently the world has begun to change. The power to change this was once held in the hands of only a few people. But now power is held in the hands of many people, from all over the world. There is a concept behind this new division of power and it is called “New Power”. In New Power, there is a whole set of features that you can trace, whether it's in media or politics or education. Just to be clear, new power is not your Facebook or your twitter. According to Jeremy Heimans, new power is not inherently positive. Also that “there are many good things about new power, but it can produce bad outcomes.” More participation and peer coordination, can sometimes alter the outcomes. For more information, look up the TedTalk about New Power.


When I thought about solutions that new power can help in, an idea that formed was the one that most people are thinking about and was mentioned in the articles. Change the laws about animal cruelty and make them harsher and less lenient. Those who break the law should not just get a slap on the wrist for killing an animal. Making the laws harder might actually make a differences since people will most likely be less likely to injure or kill an animal. If we all work together, then it can be possible. We can start a petition, make fundraisers basically do anything that gather attention to this issue. If we can get enough people to know about this situation and try to change the laws, then there is a chance that the laws can be changed and animals will be safe from harm.

 Another solution came while I was talking with my little sister after reading a story about a man who chopped off his dog’s nose, she said that people who own an animal should go through a random inspection. I believe that this could be a good idea since by doing this it might reduce the number of animal cruelty cases. Since owners will never when somebody might show up, they will not take the risk and hurt their animals. People in the neighbourhoods could also look and see how the animals are being treated. If they see something suspicious, they report it and someone comes to check it out. This solution will only work if everyone works together.

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About the author

I'm Brianna "Amanda" McCulloch and i am a Champlain college student. I am currently in my last semester studying in the Social Science program. I enjoy reading and animals. In the future, i would like to be a teacher specifically for little kids who are 5 to 10 years old.