MEDIA RELEASE: 9 NOVEMBER 2020
BREAKING: PENALTIES FOR ANIMAL ABUSE SET TO DRASTICALLY INCREASE IN NSW
Following a spate of weak fines in NSW for acts of animal abuse, Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst will introduce new legislation increasing penalties for animal cruelty offences in NSW Parliament tomorrow.
“Our tough crack down on animal cruelty has got the Government’s attention, and their support,” said Ms Hurst.
“NSW currently has some of the weakest penalties for animal cruelty in Australia. We’ve seen countless perpetrators receiving nothing more than a slap on the wrist. Recently a puppy basher received a fine of just $600, and a man who beat a mother ringtail possum to death received no fine or jail time. This has to urgently change.
“Currently an act of animal cruelty in NSW faces a maximum fine of just $5,500 and/or 6-months imprisonment. In Victoria the same act of abuse has a maximum fine of $40,000 and/or 1 year imprisonment.
“My legislation will take New South Wales from being one of the softest states on animal cruelty, to one of the toughest. This new legislation will include mandatory minimum penalties, and an increase in maximum penalties to $55,000 and/or up to 1-year’s imprisonment for an individual act of animal cruelty.
“This legislation will also ensure that any person convicted of bestiality, or aggravated or serious animal cruelty will receive a mandatory, lifelong ban on caring for an animal,” said Ms Hurst.
As recently as September, the Government indicated it would not increase penalties anytime soon – despite having strong support from the community, RSPCA, Animal Welfare League and NSW Police to do so.
However, following Ms Hurst successfully passing a motion calling for tougher penalties in the NSW Upper House on October 21 and announcing her intention to table legislation in November, the Government has indicated they will bring in their own legislation this week, similar to that proposed by the Animal Justice Party.
“Only after we passed our notice of motion and announced our legislation, has the Government decided to take action,” continued Ms Hurst.
“While we are yet to see a copy of Minister Marshall’s bill, we welcome the Government finally taking action on this important issue.
“Animal cruelty is a serious, violent crime and must be punished accordingly. If the Government’s legislation does not go far enough we will seek to amend it to ensure that NSW have the toughest penalties across the country.
“We need a ‘no tolerance’ stance to animal abuse in this state. Given the NSW Parliament will now be considering both Animal Justice Party and Government legislation on this issue, we are confident there will be major changes in this space and better protection laws for animals,” said Ms Hurst.
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