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We must work together to end animal cruelty

Throughout society there is increasing awareness of the scourge of animal cruelty.

Recent high-profile cases have served to bring animal cruelty to the forefront of the popular consciousness.

Those who engage in neglect of or cruelty to animals are beneath contempt and I welcome the fact that more and more people are demanding action through the introduction of a tougher sentencing and a Banned Owners Register.

Responsibility for the protection of animals at risk has been delegated to local government as a consequence of the Review of Public Administration.

Recent research showed that very few people were aware of this, with lots of people still believing that if they see a case of animal cruelty or neglect then they should get in touch with the USPCA.

One way in which I believe we could raise public awareness in a cost-effective way is to place a sticker on everyone's black wheelie bin advertising the number of the relevant council authorities people should contact if they suspect cruelty or neglect.

Not everyone reads the magazine the council distributes, but almost everyone would see such a sticker and it hopefully would have a positive impact on tackling animal cruelty.

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Belfast City Council