USPCA Renews Call for Banned Offenders Register
In response to figures obtained by the BBC which highlights the increase in convictions for animal welfare offences and, an increase in the number of people banned from keeping animals, the USPCA has renewed its call for the establishment of a Banned Offenders Register.
USPCA Chief Executive, Brendan Mullan stated:
“The increase in the number of prosecutions and banning orders begs the question have we as a community in NI become more uncaring and cruel towards animals and of course the answer is no.
Rather, the increase in the figures reflects the increased effectiveness of the statutory agencies in enforcing the animal welfare act and holding abusers to account in the courts, which is to be welcomed.
Whilst welcoming this clearly improved enforcement, the USPCA remains concerned at the ineffectiveness of the bans as evidenced by recent court cases, where individuals who had been banned previously from keeping animals were up in court again for animal welfare offences. Banned one day and owning and abusing animals the next. In response, the USPCA is calling for the establishment of an Animal Abusers Register, particularly to register those individuals banned from keeping animals. The register to be accessible by reputable breeders and animal re-homing charities.
Such a Register may not completely solve the problem, but it would be a significant step to closing the current loophole. As it stands, the ultimate penalty for the most serious animal welfare offences, is relatively ineffective.”