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Animal abuse: Inadequacies in the set-up that prevails invites continuing abuse

By Stephen Philpott

Over the years USPCA welfare officers have sat in court and heard many convicted abusers of pets and livestock being banned from being in control of or keeping animals.

The prohibition can be species specific, ie a ban from keeping cats, dogs, horses etc.

The period of disqualification also varies — a year or two is the norm, and lifetime bans are rare. So far, so good; however within a short period of time animals are often found at the banned person’s address and society now has a serial offender in its midst.

The USPCA can point to an instance in which the individual members of one family were all banned, in turn, by the courts. They moved location and more than 300 neglected and dead pigs were recovered from the new address.

Ban? What ban?

With proper enforcement bans are an effective means of curtailing animal suffering.

Inadequacies in the set-up that prevails in Northern Ireland invites continued abuse.

In my view, when legislation is shared ‘buck-passing’ prospers.

Cruelty prosecutions under The Welfare of Animals (NI) Act 2011 can be taken by local authorities’ animal welfare inspectors, the PSNI or DARD. A ban from keeping animals can result from a prosecution.

We have three agencies without a shared register of banned persons and therefore no policing of any ban imposed.

Those convicted of the abuse and exploitation of children are placed on a register, why not those who cause needless suffering to our innocent animals?

Stephen Philpott is chief executive of the USPCA

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