MEDIA RELEASE: 18 MARCH 2021
BREAKING: NSW SET TO BECOME TOUGHEST STATE ON ANIMAL CRUELTY PENALTIES
UPPER HOUSE PASSES ADDITIONAL MANDATORY ‘ANIMAL BAN’ AMENDMENTS
Legislation drastically increasing penalties for animal abuse has just passed through the NSW Upper House, including amendments by Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst that would ensure individuals convicted of bestiality or serious animal cruelty receive mandatory lifelong animal bans.
“This will be the toughest crack-down on animal cruelty New South Wales has ever seen,” said Ms Hurst.
“The Upper House supported our Animal Justice Party amendment that would ensure any person convicted of bestiality, or the most serious animal cruelty offences, would receive a mandatory, lifelong ban on caring for an animal.
“Anyone who aggressively harms or sexually abuses an animal is a danger to the community and other animals. No animal should remain in their so-called “care”.
“There have been no animal bans in NSW as a result of a conviction of bestiality. This simply isn’t good enough. We should be protecting animals from known perpetrators by ensuring anyone found guilty of the most heinous acts of abuse have no future access to animals.
“Shockingly the Government did not support this amendment in the Upper House. We are hopeful the Government will reconsider their position, and support this amendment in the Lower House,” said Ms Hurst.
The Animal Justice Party also passed an amendment that ensured that interim court orders could be made (prior to conviction) to stop a person having animals in their care.
“We are aware of a case in NSW that has been dragged through the courts for years. This man obtained more animals - and actually continued to run a petting zoo - while being prosecuted for serious animal cruelty offences. This amendment will protect animals before courts finalise their proceedings,” said Ms Hurst
Upper House supports Government crackdown on animal cruelty
The Government’s legislation, which closely mimics legislation tabled by Animal Justice Party MP Emma Hurst just weeks prior, provides massive eight-fold increases in animal abuse penalties. Ms Hurst welcomes the Government’s legislation which passed the Upper House today, saying it recognises animal abuse as a serious crime.
“Our state’s penalties were woefully out of touch for far too long. With a maximum of $5500 for an act of animal abuse, court imposed penalties rarely fit the crime,” continued Ms Hurst.
“In the past few months we’ve seen pathetic penalties including a $700 fine for viciously stabbing a dog to death, a $900 fine for the abuse of 13 cows, and an $850 fine for throwing a 10 week old kitten across a yard.
“These weak penalties did nothing to deter future abuse. These penalty increases send a strong message to abusers that animal cruelty will not be tolerated,” said Ms Hurst.
The legislation, with Animal Justice Party amendments, will now go to the Legislative Assembly before becoming law.
Government proposed penalty changes supported by Upper House:
- Cruelty – increased from $5,500 fine to $44,000 and/or 12 months’ imprisonment for individuals and $220,000 for corporations for each individual act of cruelty;
- Aggravated Cruelty – increased from $22,000 fine to $110,000 and/or 2 years’ imprisonment for individuals and $550,000 for corporations for each individual act;
- Fail to Provide Food & Shelter – Increased from $5,500 fine to $16,500 and/or six months’ imprisonment for individuals and $82,500 for corporations for each individual act.
- Interim Disqualification Orders introduced.
Animal Justice Party Amendments Passed in Upper House:
- Amendment to interim disqualification orders which will ensure that animals in the care of abusers awaiting trial can be removed.
- Mandatory prohibitions on owning or working with an animal for individuals convicted of animal cruelty offences under the NSW Crimes Act, including bestiality.
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