redcar council largeLabour MP for Redcar, Anna Turley, has today (4th July 2016) tabled a Private Members Bill to toughen up the sentencing for animal cruelty crimes, following local case where the abusers of a pet bulldog avoided jail.

Andrew and Daniel Frankish from Redcar horrifically abused their pet bulldog, Baby, repeatedly throwing her down the stairs, stamping on her head, swinging her around and head-butting her. They filmed the attack and were seen and heard to be laughing. Baby’s injuries were so severe that she was put down three months after the vicious attack due to loss of the use of her hind legs.

The brothers avoided jail and were sentenced in March to 21 weeks in prison, suspended for two years and a tagged curfew for six months.

The case has received national attention with almost half a million people signing an online petition calling for their sentence to be reviewed.

Anna has previously written to the Justice Minister, Michael Gove, requesting an urgent review into sentencing for animal cruelty crimes. The Solicitor General Robert Buckland QC MP replied on his behalf to say that they did not have the power to refer this kind of case for review and that people who commit animal cruelty can be sentenced for up to six months in prison.

Anna has now used a parliamentary mechanism called the 10 Minute Rule which gives backbenchers an opportunity to bring forward draft legislation for debate. It is often so popular that MPs have to sleep out to reserve a place in the queue outside the Public Bill Office. 

Anna said:

“All abuse of animals is completely unacceptable but the abhorrent acts committed by the Frankish brothers were especially cruel and the fact that they have escaped prison is very concerning.

There is widespread disbelief at the leniency of the sentencing in this case and I fear it will persuade other animal abusers that the law is on their side.

Currently, people who commit animal cruelty can face up to six months in prison, a fine and be banned from keeping animals for life. However the fact the Frankish brothers escaped prison despite the severity of their crimes, it is clear the current sentencing guidelines are not strong enough.

I queued up through the night to secure this bill to bring it before Parliament and will be working with the RSPCA and other campaigners because we cannot let other abusers get away with mistreating their animals as Baby was.”

The Bill has been co-sponsored by Alex Cunningham, MP for Stockton North. He said:

“I am delighted to support Anna’s initiative which serves to ensure there are fair penalties for people who carry out horrendous attacks on defenceless animals.”