Rise in people banned from keeping animals due to cruelty
There was an increase in the number of people banned from keeping animals in Northern Ireland in 2018.
The BBC has reported that 45 people were banned by the courts from keeping animals after being convicted of cruelty.
Animal owners were banned for offences against wildlife, farm animals and pets.
It represents a large increase on the 28 people banned in 2017. 38 people were banned from keeping animals in 2016 and 26 the year before.
The Ulster Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) called for an "animal abuses register" to be introduced.
USPCA Chief Brendan Mullan said that the increase was due to the effectiveness of agencies enforcing the Animal Welfare Act.
"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?," he said.
"Of course, the answer is no.
"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."
Mr Mullan said that information on those banned should be available for animal breeders and re-homing charities in a register.
"Such a register may not completely solve the problem, but it would be a significant step to closing the current loophole," he said.
"As it stands, the ultimate penalty for the most serious animal welfare offences, is relatively ineffective."
Belfast Telegraph Digital