Animal cruelty: Thousands sign petition for central register of offenders
A public petition calling for a central register of animal cruelty offenders has been tabled at the Assembly by the SDLP.
Already signed by thousands and supported by the USPCA, the aim is to make the register of offenders available to charities and shelters across Ireland.
Backed by Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly and party colleague Patsy McGlone, supported by the USPCA, it aims to ensure those convicted of abusing animals are not allowed to rehome new animals.
There is currently no mechanism for preventing the sale or adoption of animals to those with convictions. The MLAs have raised questions with the Agriculture Minister and Justice Minister about the pace of progress on a register which would protect pets and farm animals from unnecessary abuse.
Mrs Kelly said:“For months, SDLP MLAs and local councillors have been working to persuade Ministers to introduce a central register of people convicted of animal cruelty offences.
“An all-island register would allow authorities to intervene and prevent animals being placed in the care of convicted abusers. It’s a very simple idea that would make a big difference. The sanctions for animal abusers that apply in NI are stringent but without a central database of those convicted of these crimes, there is no easy way to prevent repeat offending. That is the kind of behaviour we’re trying to address.
“We have had conversations with Minister Charlie McConalogue in the Irish Government who is keen to assist with this proposal. We are now formally urging Ministers Edwin Poots and Naomi Long to work together and apply the resources of their departments to take this forward with us.”
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