Agriculture/Animal Welfare, Animal Welfare, Dáil Issues, Oral Questions

Clare seeks stiffer penalties for those involved in animal cruelty in light of the increasingly frequent reports of barbarous occurrences around the country.

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine given frequent and increasing reports of instances of animal cruelty, his plans to introduce stiffer penalties for those convicted of such offences…
– Clare Daly.

For ORAL answer on Wednesday, 25th November, 2015.

Ref No: 41254/15 Lottery: 16 Proof: 16

REPLY

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine : (Simon Coveney)

The An imal Health & Welfare Act 2013 is a major updating of our laws in this area going back to 1911. The provisions of the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013 are designed to encourage the development of a climate which supports the optimum protection of the health and welfare of all animals, irrespective of species, whether kept for commercial, domestic, sport, show or for other purposes.

Under the Act, penalties for offences have been increased significantly . On summary conviction , a person may be fined up to €5,000 for each offence and/or sentenced to up to 6 months imprisonment, on conviction on indictment, a fine of up to €250,000 for each offence and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years may be imposed. The Act provides a framework within which the welfare of animals can be safeguarded and I am hopeful that the significantly increased levels of penalties for offences of animal cruelty provided for under the Act will act as a deterrent to animal welfare abuses. The imposition of penalties in a particular case, is a matter for the Courts and I have no function in the matter . I am satisfied that the penalties set down in the Act in respect of cruelty offences should provide a sufficient deterrent. I have no plans to increase penalties further.

A wide range of offences have been det ected and prosecuted since the A ct came into operation on 6 March 2014. Such o ffences include acts of overt cruelty as well as neglect, failure to feed animals and keeping animals in an unsuitable environment. As well as my Department , both ISPCA and DSPCA have officers authorised under the Animal Health and Welfare Act. These officers are bringing forward cases through the Garda Siochana and the Chief State Solicitors Office.