Higher fines, longer jail terms for animal abusers proposed
The Animal Welfare Legislative Review Committee is calling for heavier penalties for animal abuse and abandonment.
After a year-long review, the committee has submitted its recommendations to the National Development Ministry for consideration.
The current penalty for animal abuse is a fine of up to 10 thousand dollars, 1 year in jail, or both.
The Committee calls for a more detailed penalty structure that differentiates the intent and severity of the offence, with the maximum penalty for repeat and malicious cases going up to 50 thousand dollars, 3 years in jail and a 1-year ban on keeping animals.
At the same time, the proposal calls for higher penalties for businesses - between 20 thousand and 100 thousand dollars, and a ban on animal-related business for up to a year.
Another key proposal is to legally require all staff in all pet businesses to be appropriately trained in animal care and handling.
The Committee is also recommending regulation for all commercial pet breeding activities and for all pet boarding facilities to be licensed.
The Committee's report also includes a call to set a minimum age of 16 years old for buying a pet.
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