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Thursday, October 06, 2005



Pet owners who let animals pile on the pounds could face heavy fines under new laws. Owners who allow dogs and cats to get so fat that they are in distress could be fined £5000.

And neglecting or mistreating pets could result in fines of up to £20,000 or up to a year in jail.

The tough new rules, unveiled today, are part of the Animal Health and Welfare Bill.

It gives new powers to animal protection officers, making it easier to prosecute those who abuse or neglect their animals.

The new laws place a "duty of care" on owners, which lets protection officers take action early rather than having to wait until a complaint is made and animals are actually suffering.

Leonara Merry, of the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said: "At one end, you have animal fighting and deliberate acts of cruelty.

"At the other is day-to-day neglect, which at present it is difficult to do anything about."

The bill raises the age for buying animals from 12 to 16 and bans giving creatures such as goldfish in plastic bags as prizes.

It also tightens rules on animal fighting and outlaws mutilations such as tail-docking for cosmetic purposes.

Buy a fat plush animal here


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