Clarke welcomes commencement of powers to appoint animal welfare inspectors
Newcastle Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke has welcomed powers granted to Councils and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2nd April to appoint animal welfare inspectors under the Welfare of Animals Act (NI) 2011.
Speaking to Newry Times, Newcastle Alliance Councillor Patrick Clarke stated, “I very much welcome the new powers from 2nd April which will provide both Councils and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development the authority to appoint Animal Welfare Inspectors. For the first time Councils will have powers to prosecute offences under the Welfare of Animals Act. Councils will have lead responsibility for the enforcement of welfare for other animals such as domestic pets and horses.”
On what the new powers entail, he continued, “There will be an increase in the current fines and penalties for welfare offences. Conviction can be to a maximum of six months imprisonment and/or a maximum fine of £5,000. On conviction on indictment (trial by jury) to a maximum of two years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine can be also awarded. The overall purpose of the new Act is to prevent unnecessary suffering to any vertebrate animal. The Act sets out the obligations on people to promote the welfare of animals, including domestic pets, for which they are responsible.”
“The introduction of these new powers from 2nd April to local Councils and the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development will help further to protect the welfare of animals,” Clarke added.
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