Northern Ireland news

SDLP launches campaign to introduce animal cruelty offenders register

Dolores Kelly MLA with USPCA chief executive Brendan Mullen at Stormont for the petition launch

THE SDLP has launched a campaign aimed at introducing an all-island register of banned offenders for those who have committed animal cruelty.

There is currently no central register of those convicted of cruelty or maltreatment of animals.

SDLP MLA Dolores Kelly it would "allow authorities to intervene and prevent animals being placed in the care of convicted abusers".

"Those responsible for horrific crimes against helpless animals should face the full force of the law," she said.

"While I'm satisfied that our laws for addressing abuse are robust, it is deeply concerning that we are currently in a situation where animals can be re-homed or sold to individuals with a history of maltreatment with no checks. This heightens the risk of serial offending."

The SDLP has discussed this issue with the Republic's agriculture minister Charlie McConalogue and is launching a petition calling on executive ministers to introduce a banned offenders register.

Brendan Mullan from the USPCA said bans from keeping animals were relatively worthless in the absence of a register of those convicted of animal abuse.

"Currently, offenders can be banned by the courts one week and the following week acquire animals again," he said.

"Unfortunately, we have seen clear evidence of this in recent court cases, which highlights the glaring ineffectiveness of such bans and underlines the need for significant change to animal welfare regulation."

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