Barker and another v Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Animal – Animal welfare. The proceedings concerned the first case to reach to High Court on the issue of sentencing for an offence, under s 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, of failing to take such steps as were reasonable, in all the circumstances, to ensure that the needs of an animal, for which a person was responsible, were met to the extent required by good practice. The appellants had pleaded guilty in the magistrates' court to two offences under s 9 of the Act and had, among other things, been disqualified from owning or keeping any animal for a period of seven years, subject to one exception. The Crown Court upheld the disqualification order, but varied it to permit the appellants to own and keep terrapins. In dismissing the appellants' appeal by way of case stated, the Administrative Court ruled that an 'all animals' prohibition under the Act was not wrong in principle and that a seven-year disqualification period from owning all animals, save for terrapins had not been outside of the relevant court's sentencing discretion, was neither arbitrary, nor excessive and did not breach the appellants' rights under art 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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