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Hefty fines for cruelty to animals

Beating, abandoning or tying up animals will now attract fines of up to US$200 under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The new fines became effective following the amendment of the Finance Act, which saw the standard scale of fines in the Criminal Law code change. A Level Five fine for animal cruelty was US$20 and has now been scaled up to US$200.
Section 3 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act states that any person who commits an offence shall be “liable to a fine not exceeding Level Five or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and such imprisonment”.
The Zimbabwe Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has commended Government for reviewing the fines upwards.
ZNSPCA chief inspector Ms Glynis Vaughan said: “With the increase in fines, animal cruelty offenders will find it more difficult to find the money to avoid court. Court appearances can be costly as offenders will need legal representation and magistrates can order offenders to pay all expenses incurred by SPCA for the case.
“Hence, the ZNSPCA welcome this increase in fines as we hope it will deter potential animal cruelty offenders from committing crimes against animals.
“ZNSPCA believe this Act is comprehensive and extremely effective and is far superior to most animal cruelty acts around the world.”
She also said: “The more common cases of animal cruelty dealt with in towns are incidences involving companion animals (dogs and cats). For example, chaining dogs up, neglecting pets, beating dogs. Outside of towns, the hard-working donkey gets abused the most, with owners beating them, overloading them and using ill-fitting harnesses that cause extensive wounds that owners leave untreated.
“Another common occurrence of animal cruelty is illegal livestock transportation. Owners overload vehicles, tie up livestock on trucks, travel unreasonable distances without providing water for the livestock.
“In most instances, our inspectors educate the owners in order to improve the welfare of the animals in question. But where there is blatant cruelty, inspectors take the case to ZRP where they are charged with an offence.”

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