New laws governing pet welfare in place from June

A black and ginger female cat sat on a couch
Owners of cats, dogs and other pets will be legally required to ensure their welfare [BBC]

New laws that will offer protection to pets and introduce tougher penalties for those guilty of animal cruelty will come into effect next month.

Measures in the Animal Welfare Act will see owners of cats, dogs and other pets become legally required to ensure their welfare.

Only the the treatment of livestock was covered under previous provisions.

Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture Clare Barer told Tynwald members the new laws would "make a genuine difference to the welfare of animals on this island".


Politicians approved the regulations outlining the rules on the retention of animal welfare complaints by the department at the May sitting of the parliament.

Under the rules adopted, complaints not investigated within six months must be removed from the record but those that are will kept for a three-year period.

However, complaints deemed to be unwarranted must be removed within a week.

As well as owners being responsible for their pet's wellbeing, the new laws have introduced powers to prosecute people who breach their duty of care, with a series of animal welfare codes published.

Chief veterinary officer Amy Beckett said that those guides covered a range of information to allow pet owners to "make sensible decisions and provide adequate care for their animals".

That included "a suitable living environment and diet and the best ways to protect them from pain, injury and disease", she added.

While the protection of wild and feral animals remains covered by the island's Wildlife Act 1990 and the Cruelty to Animals Act 1997.

However, the new laws amend the latter to increase the maximum penalties for cases of animal cruelty to five years in jail, an unlimited fine, or both.

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