Cody's family in tougher legislation call

Published Tuesday, 11 September 2012
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The owners of Cody, the dog put down after she was set on fire, have called for tougher sentences for people found guilty of animal cruelty, as the Agriculture Minister defends the current legislation.

Cody's family in tougher legislation call
Cody was put down after she was covered in flammable liquid and set alight. (© UTV)

Two people have been bailed over last month's attack, which left the three-year-old collie with burns beyond repair on 20% of her body.

After speaking to their vet, the Agnews decided the kindest thing for their dog was to have her put to sleep.

Natalie Agnew said her family, including two young sons, has been left traumatised by the cruel injury to their pet.

She has called for those who supported Cody to get behind a petition that would see more people behind bars for such crimes.

Under current laws, those found guilty of animal cruelty could be jailed for up to two years, and the number of people prosecuted for the crime in Northern Ireland is on the rise, from 19 in 2009 to 41 in 2011.

But Mrs Agnew believes a tougher sentence could also deter people from carrying out heartless attacks.

If they had something to fear then I think there would be far less of these cruel acts taking place.

Natalie Agnew

"I don't think they realised the public outcry and outrage," she said of the people who set her dog on fire.

"I don't think they expected half of that, they thought it would be brushed under the carpet, I would say.

In April, new legislation came into force that means local councils have authority over the welfare of pets, while the Department of Agriculture overlooks the care of farmed animals.

But Agriculture Minster Michelle O'Neill said adequate legislation is in place against those who harm animals.

"It's maybe some of the toughest legislation that we have on these islands," she told UTV.

"Together we all have a role to play and I think we need to be very effective on the ground."

"I think it has raised the consciousness of people, raised a lot of awareness in terms of animal welfare issues. It was a totally deplorable act, what happened to Cody."

The attack against Cody is not an isolated incident,- earlier this month young boys were found trying to burn a kitten alive in the Brandywell area of Londonderry.

More kittens were found, and they are being cared for at Rainbow Rehoming Centre, where Joanne McMullan said harming animals can be a warning sign.

"Anyone that starts out abusing animals as a young child, nine times out of 10 they go on to more serious crimes later on in life, whether it's more serious crimes with animals or moving on to people," she explained.

© UTV News
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20 Comments
Jane Hardy in Kent wrote (769 days ago):
The penalty for cruelty to animals should be the same as for cruelty to children as animals are just as innocent and vulnerable as children.
moira farmer in Leicester wrote (769 days ago):
There is no excuse for such cruel and barbaric acts. For those that think lenient sentences are fine think on, in a few years if not sooner those people committing such acts may move on to your children or grandchilden. Would you think the law is fine as it is then?
myra hill in cirencester wrote (769 days ago):
Cody was “property destroyed or damaged by fire”. Prosecute the perpetrator/s under the criminal damage order for arson which carries a penalty up to life imprisonment. SURELY THAT IS THE LEAST THAT SHOULD BE DONE...........
Kat Georgiades in Johannesburg South Africa wrote (769 days ago):
This is a sad day when individuals get away with such horrendous acts of cruelty to animals. Yes there should be tougher sentences, so that people fear the law and animals are protected. As for Agriculture Minster Michelle O'Neill - she is a fool for thinking the laws are good enough - she should be ousted from office as she does nothing to promote treating animals correctly - look at Lennox, and now this - wake up Michelle cruelty to animals is a huge concern across the world - have you not had enough bad publicity in ireland with Lennox that you think the laws are fine - CHANGE THE LAWS AND PROTECT THE ANIMALS ON THIS PLANET - things like this should not be happening in a so called civilised world!
mandy boone in uk wrote (769 days ago):
I think theses man that have done this to cody for fun, should be given the max time for this crime life i think fits the crime well, these are grown man they should have known better then to hurt anything animal or man,this story has outraged many countrys and you can see this by reading her page on facebook.A 2 year sentance is not enough for this crime,they went out of their way to do something like this otherwise they would have not been carrying the fuel.I would love to be a jugde in this case because i would give them life,to make a point to everyone.you do the crime you do the time.mandyxx
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