Animal Health and Welfare Act 2013

Prohibition on animal cruelty.

12.—(1) A person shall not—

(a) do, or fail to do, anything or cause or permit anything to be done to an animal that causes unnecessary suffering to, or endanger the health or welfare of, an animal, or

(b) neglect, or be reckless, regarding the health or welfare of an animal.

(2) A person who contravenes this section commits an offence.

(3) Where a person has been convicted of an offence under this section, the court may, in addition to any penalty it imposes, order the person to make such contribution, as it considers appropriate, towards veterinary or other expenses incurred in respect of the animal or its upkeep.

(4) The considerations to which regard may be had when determining, for the purposes of this section, whether suffering is unnecessary may, amongst any other considerations, include—

(a) whether the suffering could reasonably have been avoided, terminated or reduced,

(b) whether the conduct which caused the suffering was in compliance with this Act, another enactment, animal health and welfare regulations or a code of practice,

(c) whether the conduct which caused the suffering was for a legitimate purpose, such as—

(i) benefiting the health and welfare of the animal, or

(ii) protecting a person, property or another animal,

(d) whether the suffering was proportionate to the purpose of the conduct concerned, and

(e) whether the conduct concerned was in all the circumstances that of a competent and humane person.

(5) An authorised officer who has reasonable grounds for believing that a person is offending against this section, in relation to an animal, may require the person to immediately desist from so offending, and, if necessary, to take such action as the officer may require in the interests of the health and welfare of the animal.

(6) A person who, without reasonable excuse, fails to comply with a requirement under subsection (5) commits an offence.

(7) Where an authorised officer has reasonable grounds for believing that an offence under subsection (6) is being or has been or will be committed, he or she may seize and detain the animal concerned (and any dependant offspring of the animal) and remove it or arrange to have it removed to a place of safety or such other place as the officer thinks fit.

(8) The costs of anything done under this section may berecovered by the authorised officer concerned, the local authority concerned or the Minister in a court of competent jurisdiction or by deducting the sum from any moneys due or becoming due and payable by the Minister to the person.

(9) Subsection (5) and (7) are in addition to and not in substitution for sections 42 and 44 , respectively.

(10) This section does not apply to—

(a) the destruction of an animal in an appropriate and humane manner, or

(b) anything done under and in accordance with any of the enactments or Regulations mentioned in section 10 (5).

(11) Nothing in this section applies in relation to anything which occurs in the ordinary course of—

(a) fishing,

(b) lawfully hunting an animal, unless the animal is released in an injured, mutilated or exhausted condition, or

(c) lawfully coursing a hare, unless the hare is hunted or coursed in a space from which it does not have a reasonable chance of escape.