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Johnson v. Needham [1909] 1 KB 626

The Court upheld a decision of local justices to dismiss an information that the defendant "did cruelly ill-treat, abuse, and torture a certain animal" contrary to the Cruelty to Animals Act 1849, s. 2 (1). The Act made it an offence to ill-treat, abuse, or torture an animal, and thereby established three separate offences from which the prosecutor should have elected. Note: Although the 1949 Act has been repealed, similar language appears in the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s 1(1)(a), and presumably the same reasoning applies to that statutory provision.

Case
James v. RSPCA EWHC 1642 Defendant was charged with unnecessary suffering towards three horses found in terrible conditions. It was held that where a protected animal is found in distress, a veterinarian's certificate need not be in writing for a constable or inspector to exercise powers under Section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (namely seizure and detention). Oral certification of suffering will suffice in certain circumstances, for example where the protected animal requires urgent treatment and there is not sufficient time to produce a written certificate. Case
Isted v. CPS (1998) 162 J.P. 513 [1998] Crim. L.R. 194; [1998] C.O.D. 86; (1998) 162 J.P.N. 663; The Times, December 11, 1997

The appellant was a keeper of livestock who had shot and injured a neighbor's dog that had strayed into the appellant's pig pen. He had been convicted of doing an act causing unnecessary suffering to the dog contrary to the Protection of Animals Act 1911, s 1(1)(a) (second limb). Dismissing the appeal, the Divisional Court held that the local justices were entitled to find as a matter of fact that it had not been reasonably necessary to shoot the dog.

Case
Hopson v. DPP [1997] C.O.D. 229

The owner of a bird of prey had kept it in a wire aviary for at least six weeks, during which it had injured itself by repeatedly flying into the wire mesh. Having been convicted on these facts of an offence of cruelly ill-treating the bird contrary to the first limb of s 1(1)(a) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911, he appealed, contending that under that limb, unlike the second limb, he should only have been convicted if he was guilty of a positive act of deliberate cruelty. Dismissing the appeal, the Divisional Court held that a person could be guilty of cruel ill-treatment of an animal he was responsible for by allowing it to remain in a situation where it was continuing to injure itself, even if he did not desire to bring about the harm.

Case
Gray v. RSPCA [2013] EWHC 500 (Admin) Mr Gray appealed against the police seizure of 115 horses from his horse trading premises, pursuant to section 18 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Gray had been convicted of numerous counts of cruelty, specifically under sections 4 and 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Mr Gray argued that an offence under sections 4 and 9 required either actual knowledge or a form of constructive knowledge that the animal was showing signs of unnecessary suffering, and that negligence was not sufficient. It was held that the plain effect of section 4(1) of the Act is to impose criminal liability for unnecessary suffering caused to an animal either by an act or omission which the person responsible knew would, or was likely to, cause unnecessary suffering, or by a negligent act or omission. Further, it was held that section 9(1) of the Act sets a purely objective standard of care which a person responsible for an animal is required to provide. Case
Ford v. Wiley 23 QBD 203

A farmer who had caused the horns of his cattle to be sawn off, a procedure which had caused great pain, was liable to conviction for cruelty. For an operation causing pain to be justifiable, it had to be carried out in pursuit of a legitimate aim that could not reasonably be attained through less painful means, and the pain inflicted had to be proportionate to the objective sought. The mere fact that the defendant believed that the procedure was necessary did not remove him from liability to conviction if, judged according to the circumstances that he believed to exist, his actions were not objectively justifiable.

Case
England/Wales - Wild Animals - Wild Animals in Circuses Act 2019 2019 CHAPTER 24 Comes into force January 2020: An Act banning the use of wild animals in traveling circuses in England and Wales. Statute
England/Wales - Animal Welfare - Animal Welfare (Service Animals) Act 2019 2019 c.15 This Act amends the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 (England and Wales). It makes it an offence to be cause unnecessary suffering to a service animal whilst in service, removing the defence to human safety from the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Also known as 'Finn's Law.' Statute
Detailed Discussion of the Offences of Cruelty to Domestic and Captive Animals (U.K.) Alan Bates Animal Legal and Historical Center

Detailed discussion of the offences of cruelty to domestic and captive animals. These offences are contained in section 1(1) of the Protection of Animals Act 1911 and section 1 of the Abandonment of Animals Act 1960.

Article
Detailed Discussion of the Licensing and Regulation of Pet Shops (U.K.) Alan Bates Animal Legal and Historical Center

Detailed discussion of the Pet Animals Act 1951 which provides for the licensing of pet shops by local authorities, and prohibits the sale of pet animals in public places and from market stalls, and to persons under 12 years of age.

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