2 Feb 2010

Govt backs tougher sentences for animal cruelty

9:16 pm on 2 February 2010

The Government is to support a bill to increase the maximum penalty for animal cruelty from three years in prison to five years.

The Animal Welfare Amendment Bill, originally drafted by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges, will now be introduced by Agriculture Minister David Carter.

On 25 January, a man admitted in a Gisborne court to throwing five kittens to a pitbull terrier to kill them.

The following day, 33 dogs were killed at a rural property in Wellsford, north of Auckland. Police and SPCA are investigating the incident and charges are being considered.

Mr Carter says the Government's adoption of the bill complements a range of work that the Government is doing on animal welfare.

He says he will consider widening its scope to make the Animal Welfare Act work better.

Mr Bridges says increasing the maximum penalty will result in sentences being increased.