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SPCA welcomes passing of animal cruelty bill

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland, July 2 NZPA - The SPCA has applauded the Government for passing the Animal Welfare Amendment Act, which will see increased penalties for the neglect and ill-treatment of animals.

SPCA branches were delighted about the new law, chief executive Robyn Kippenberger said.

The maximum sentence for wilful ill-treatment of an animal has been increased from three to five years and the maximum fine doubled to $100,000 for an individual and $500,000 for a company.

Penalties also increase for a range of other neglect and ill-treatment offences and the Act expands the law relating to forfeiture of animals and disqualification from having them.

It also creates a new offence of reckless ill-treatment, which will make it easier for offenders to be prosecuted.

"How we care for our animals is a reflection on our society as a whole and it is important that we take action when they are ill-treated in any way," Ms Kippenberger said.

"The significant rise in penalties, provided by the Act, will give our courts a clear mandate when sentencing and send out the message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated."

The Animal Welfare Amendment Act started off as a member's bill drafted by Tauranga MP Simon Bridges.

It was taken over by the Government so it could be given priority treatment, and it was strongly supported by all the other parties.

Ms Kippenberger acknowledged the work of Mr Bridges, the Government and Minister of Agriculture David Carter.

"The unanimous passing of the bill is heartening, as it is a reflection of the will of New Zealanders, who want to see our animals cared for in the right way."

Agriculture Minister David Carter, who took the bill through Parliament, welcomed the unanimous vote on its third reading.

"The legislation sends a clear message that serious offending against animals will not be tolerated," he said.

"The unanimous support it received in Parliament reflects the fact that New Zealanders want strong laws to protect animals from harm."

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