New legislation has seen the maximum sentence for animal cruelty rise from 6 months to 5 years.
The proposed law went before parliament on the 26th of June and has seen a significant increase from the previous maximum sentence of six months.
The idea was brought forward following a public consultation last year, when more than 70 per cent of the public called for tougher prison sentences for those found abusing animals.
The courts will now be able to take firmer action in extreme cases of abuse and neglect. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: ‘There is no place in this country for animal cruelty. Our new Bill sends a clear message that this behaviour will not be tolerated, with the maximum five-year sentence one of the toughest punishments in Europe.’
Claire Horton, Chief Executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, said: “The introduction of this bill is a landmark achievement, which will make a profound difference to dogs and cats in England and Wales.
“We, and many other rescue centres, see shocking cases of cruelty and neglect come through our gates and there are many more animals that are dumped and don’t even make it off the streets.
“Research shows that tougher prison sentences act as a deterrent to would-be criminals, so today’s announcement should prevent the suffering of many animals in the future.”