OATA has written to Sentencing Council following news reports about a case involving a man who was sentenced by a District Judge following charges of animal cruelty to his pet Alsatian dog. We were concerned that the man’s sentence included a lifetime disqualification on all animals except goldfish.

This seems a completely bizarre exemption and we believe sends completely the wrong message to the general public about the need to give any kind of pet fish the same protection under the law. Fish are vertebrate animals so they do enjoy the same level of protection as dogs (or any other air breathing animal).

The Sentencing Council‘s role is to ensure ‘greater consistency in sentencing, whilst maintaining the independence of the judiciary’. The Council also produces guidelines on sentencing for the judiciary and criminal justice professionals and aims to increase public understanding of sentencing.

Read our letter here.