Regulatory Advice for Animal Cruelty Offences

If you have been accused of animal cruelty, it is vital that you seek legal advice to obtain the best support, given that a wide range of actions can be taken against you and animals owned by you.

The maximum sentence for animal abuse was six months in prison, but new legislation, the Animal Welfare Sentencing and Recognition of Sentience Bill will see maximum sentencing increase up to 5 years.

Many allegations come from RSPCA investigations. RSPCA is charitable organisation aiming to prevent cruelty. By UK law, you are under no obligation to assist with queries or questions they may ask, RSPCA have no specialist powers similar to the police. They do however have the power to deal with cases suspected cruelty by bringing private prosecutions under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

At the earliest stage, it is advisable to obtain legal advice. It is crucial to instruct a specialist solicitor who will deal with the matter in an expert and timely manner.

RSPCA prosecutions can result in:

  • Fine
  • Absolute or conditional discharge
  • A community based penalty
  • Prison sentencing
  • Seizure or destruction of pet or pets
  • Disqualification from keeping animals, for a number of years or lifetime
  • Ordered to pay the cost of RSPCA prosecution
  • Media attention; this can be especially damaging if the charges relate to running a business

Animal Abuse is categorised as the following:

  • Deliberate or gratuitous attempt to cause suffering
  • Prolonged or deliberate ill treatment or neglect
  • Ill treatment in a commercial context
  • Leading role in illegal activity

To prevent neglect, owners must provide:

  • Suitable environment
  • Suitable diet
  • Appropriate housing
  • Protection

Failure to comply with any of the following standards can result in a tip off to RSPCA, which can turn into an investigation. If you are facing charges or have been charged with animal cruelty,  call  0113 284 5042 or alternatively email