Friday 10 October 2008

UK- punishment for killing a cat

The UK punishment for killing a cat can be 4 months in prison. It can actually be as long as 51 weeks in prison. This was the sentence handed down to a Scottish individual who killed a neighbor's cat by putting the cat in 3 plastic bags, sealing the bags and throwing the weighted bag into the Union Canal near Grangemouth, Scotland. He feared the cat would "infect" his wife. There are very few zootonic diseases so this was an unfounded fear born out of ignorance. His actions also demonstrate a lack of thought and morality. This was reported by the BBC News Scotland on 9th October 2008.

As I understand it the Scottish equivalent of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is THE ANIMAL HEALTH AND WELFARE (SCOTLAND) ACT 2006. The Scottish have their own laws but Wales and Northern Ireland use the same laws as England.

It would seem that this person was prosecuted under the above Act. I have not been able to find a case report for this prosecution so can't check. Certainly the THE ANIMAL HEALTH AND WELFARE (SCOTLAND) ACT 2006 would suffice as under this act cats are an applicable animal and are protected.

Further the UK punishment for killing a cat can extend to imprisonment for not more than 51 weeks and a fine of £20,000 or both. If this act was used the crime was not killing the cat but causing unnecessary suffering. There is no concept of murder or lesser killing offence (e.g. manslaughter) in relation to animals.

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