Animal abusers could face far more severe sentences if a Private Member’s Bill presented by Redcar Labour Co-operative MP Anna Turley is successful.

Campaigners say the current maximum prison term of six months is too lenient when fly-tippers can get up to five years, the maximum term they say animal abusers should face. Apparently nine out of ten offenders avoid jail altogether, despite strong evidence that those who hurt defenceless animals will do, or have done the same to defenceless humans.

Recent cases in the press include two brothers, Christopher Hoar (31) and Adam Hoar (23) who kicked a hedgehog to death in Co Durham and were jailed for six weeks each, Jennifer Lampe(28) who cut the heads off her pet snakes with scissors, drowned a hampster in a fish tank and got away with a suspended sentence, Richard Cheshire (34) from Oldbury who kicked and stamped on his pet bull terrier and was given 120 hours of unpaid work, Owen Nichol (18) from Taunton, Somerset who was filmed by charity Animal Equality kicking cows and throwing and stamping on their new-born calves and received a 12-week suspended sentence and 150 hours of unpaid work, and Michael Heathcock (59) and Richard Finch (60) from Redcar, North Yorks who said they couldn’t afford the £300 vet’s fee to have their 16 year old dog put down so they attempted to kill it by hitting it on the head at least six times with a hammer, driving a nail into its skull and then burying it while it was still alive. A couple out walking later heard and found the dog, still alive, and took it to a vet, who had to put it down. Heathcock and Finch both received 4 month prison terms.

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