“He who is cruel to animals becomes hard also in his dealings with men. We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”― Immanuel Kant

Animal cruelty has no boundaries as it may appear in the form of unintentional neglect or direct abuse (physical/emotional).

For a society that is not brought up in the culture of recognizing the rights of animals, cruelty towards them goes unnoticed and unbothered. It is for this reason why the efforts to enforce the law is more crucial than ever. Not only are the legislative-makers and drafters required to put legislations in place, now we are tasked with educating the owners, the law enforcers and the general public about what constitutes animal cruelty and what tools are available to them to prevent such horrendous acts.

The offence of animal cruelty has always been in existence pursuant to Section 79 (1) of the Summary Offences Act Chap 11:02 but it has been brought to forefront since the recent amendments to legislations. Under this said Act, the fines for animal cruelty increased from a measly $400.00 to $100,000.00 and to imprisonment for one year.

Further, animal cruelty is now recognized as an offence under section 18(A)(I) of the Animals (Diseases and Importation) (Amendment) Act 2020. Section 18I of the said Act mandates that owners be responsible for the welfare of their animals which includes a proper diet, access to clean water, proper shelter with reasonable protection from bad weather conditions, veterinary care and overall humane care and treatment. Section 21(3) of the said Act sets fines up to $200,000.00 and up to five years imprisonment for offences under this Act.

While we are all aware of the increase in fines and the topic of animal cruelty is hot off the press, it begs the question, what is the next step? What are you doing to enforce the law? Abusers continue to get away scot-free because we as a society do not know what to do with the weapons we are equipped with. Just as you would report an abused child or a battered spouse, same must be done to an abused/neglected animal. Animal cruelty is an OFFENCE! We must proactively lift the legal sword that we have been given; make the reports to the police and follow up relentlessly, for those we fight for have no voice to do so themselves…

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