Maximum sentences for animal cruelty crimes are finally five years

Today is the day that maximum sentences for animal cruelty are increased from six months to five years in the courts. 

The move comes after the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill was passed into law in April, and from today those committing the most heinous acts of violence against animals face a punishment more suited to their crimes.

The League Against Cruel Sports has been campaigning for many years to see sentences increased, culminating in us heading to Downing Street along with 10 other animal welfare charities to urge the government to stand by its promise of action.

Today that promise has been kept. 

Andy Knott, CEO of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “We welcome this move to ensure that those responsible for animal cruelty receive a prison sentence that reflects the seriousness of their crime.

“From today, animal abusers face a maximum sentence of five years as opposed to six months, which will act as a strong deterrent for those who would mistreat animals.

“Furthermore, the League is calling on the courts to use these new sentences to bring about an end to cruel and savage ‘sports’, like dog fighting, which sadly still take place in the UK.”

Read more about our Journey To Justice, from dog fighting to Baby the Bulldog, here.


Notes to Editors

For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email

The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).

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