Pontypridd’s MP urgently calls on the Government to strengthen penalties for crimes against animal welfare as spending on day-to-day police funding declines.

Written by on 16th March 2021

Today, as part of Pet Theft Awareness week, Alex Davies-Jones, the Labour Member of Parliament for Pontypridd, is leading on a debate in Parliament around the impact of coronavirus on animal welfare.

In today’s debate, Alex will raise urgent concerns with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs around the worrying spike in the number of pets purchased by first-time buyers when the coronavirus lockdown restrictions were first implemented last year.

Research conducted by Battersea Cats and Dogs home found that 31% of people who acquired a dog or cat during the first lockdown hadn’t even thought of becoming pet owners before, and their research also found that online searches looking to “buy a dog” increased by around 217% between February and April 2020.

Alex is calling on the Government to ensure that there are future protections in place for animals who may find themselves neglected as lockdown restrictions across the UK begin to ease.

In her speech today, Alex will additionally speak about the worrying links between domestic abuse and abuse directed at animals, and will call on the Government to work with the Home Office to ensure protections are in place that tackle all forms of abuse.

Last week in Parliament, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill passed through the House of Commons and will now be debated in the House of Lords. This Bill aims to increase the maximum sentence for crimes related to animal welfare to five years, but Pontypridd’s Labour MP has urgent concerns that cuts to police funding will mean that law enforcement for crimes against animals will remain extremely limited.

Ahead of the debate, Alex Davies-Jones MP said:

“As a dog owner and animal lover myself, it’s been brilliant to spend more time at home with my two Jack Russell’s, Dotty and Dora but I know that sadly not every home is a safe one for pets across the UK. Certain areas across the country have seen a rise in pet thefts and I know locally in South Wales there have been a number of worrying raids of puppy farms recently.

That’s why I am so passionate about making sure that fantastic organisations like the RSPCA and Battersea Dogs’ and Cats’ Home, as well as organisations based locally, including Hope for Rescue and Friends of the Animals Cymru, are supported in their efforts to protect animals.

The last few weeks have seen us really open up the dialogue on how abuse and violence is regulated in this country, and quite rightly the attention has been focused on the horrendous experiences that so many women and girls have shockingly faced both on our streets and behind closed doors too. I’ve been utterly shocked to learn about the close links between perpetrators of domestic abuse towards human victims and violence directed to household pets too, and I felt it was timely to raise these concerns with the Minister today.

I have real concerns, as we see in so many circumstances, that Government departments are not communicating with one another and it’s all very well having legislation in place to increase sentencing for crimes involving animals, but there simply must also be the cash allocated to allow our police forces to enforce the law too.

I sincerely hope that the Minister takes on board my concerns, and I look forward to seeing the Government bring forward more legislation aimed at protecting animals in the near future as a consequence of my debate today.”

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