Animal abuse register up for debate
A call for an all-Ireland register for animal abusers is due to be debated by a local council tonight.
Malachy Quinn, an SDLP member of Mid Ulster District Council, wants the British and Irish Governments to establish the register to prevent animals being placed in the care of those convicted of cruelty offences.
It follows a spate of high-profile attacks on animals recently.
Mr Quinn said that despite robust legislation to punish offenders, the lack of a central register made it hard to identify people banned from owning animals.
Recent animal cruelty cases include an acid attack on a dog in Newry.
The family pet, called Patch, had to be put down.
A man was also arrested after kicking a busker's dog in the head at Cornmarket in Belfast city centre.
Mr Quinn said: "Those responsible for these heinous crimes should face the full force of the law.
"Luckily, we have a robust framework for punishing those found guilty of these offences.
"I am concerned, however, that we have no central register of those convicted of animal cruelty.
"That means we could be left in a situation where animals are inadvertently rehomed to banned persons, increasing the risk of serial offending."
The USPCA has backed the all-island register proposal "wholeheartedly".
The charity's David Wilson said: "This is something that we have been calling for for some time."