Battersea speaks out about inadequate sentence for Redcar dog’s unimaginable suffering

  • Posted on March 1, 2017

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home is using its voice to criticise the four-month sentence handed down to two men who admitted horrific acts of cruelty against a 16-year-old Terrier.

We are appealing to the public to condemn such unacceptable cruelty and make our collective voice heard, to call for much tougher sentences and ensure the punishment fits the crime.

Just four months in prison

Richard Finch, 60, and Michael Heathcock, 59, both admitted charges relating to the death of the dog, called Scamp, at Teesside Magistrates’ Court. By pleading guilty, they received a reduced sentence of just four months in prison.

The Redcar sentencing comes just nine days after we launched a major campaign in Parliament calling for an increase in the maximum sentence for animal cruelty offences in England and Wales to five years in prison.

Battersea’s research, Sentencing for animal cruelty in England and Wales, reveals England and Wales’ current maximum sentence of six months in prison and an unlimited fine is the lowest across Europe, the United States and Australia.

Maximum sentence simply must change

Commenting on Redcar sentence, Battersea’s Chief Executive, Claire Horton, said:

“The unimaginable suffering Scamp endured at the hands of his owner, a person he should have been able to trust implicitly, will horrify the nation.

“The two men responsible have been sentenced to just four months in prison. Why? Because magistrates are unable to issue anything more than six months for even the most appalling and callous acts of animal cruelty. England and Wales’ maximum sentence simply must change. Four months for what was done to Scamp is neither a fitting punishment nor a deterrent.

“Animal lovers will surely want to come together and join Battersea and other respected animal welfare charities so we can make our collective voice heard for animals like Scamp.

“Our tougher sentencing campaign is already making its mark. We’re asking the public to write to their MP and call for a five-year sentence for such shocking acts of cruelty as we need the punishment to fit the crime.”

Heathcock had pleaded guilty to driving a nail into Scamp’s skull when the Terrier was still alive, as well as failing to provide veterinary care and attention to the dog. He claimed he was unable to afford euthanasia. Finch admitted assisting in the act.

Dog walkers found 16-year-old Scamp whimpering in a shallow grave and rushed him to a Redcar vet but his injuries were so severe he had to be put to sleep.

Email your MP today and help us speak out for animals like Scamp.