Dutch gov't wants to ban animal abusers from owning pets

Neglected dogs seized in Hof van Twente, 8 May 2018
Neglected dogs seized in Hof van Twente, 8 May 2018. (Photo: Politie)

A legislative proposal to ban perpetrators of animal cruelty from owning pets for up to 10 years was submitted by Ministers Ferdinand Grapperhaus of Justice and Security and Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality. They hope that this bill will prevent animal cruelty and repetition in perpetrators, ANP reports.

A ban on owning animals is already possible, but only as a special condition in a conditional sentence. If the perpetrator violates this condition, he or she will serve their full sentence, but the ban will lapse. In practice this means that a person can again keep, and possibly abuse, animals after serving his sentence. The new bill prevents this. The bill also allows the Public Prosecutor to impose a code of conduct on animal cruelty suspects, to prevent them from owning animals until their lawsuit at least. 

The legislative proposal also addresses dog biting incidents. In the bill both inciting one animal to attack another, and inadequately holding an attacking animal back are punishable. That is an extension of the current law, according to the news wire.

Animal protection organization Dierenbescherming is very pleased with the bill, though they'd like the 10 year ban to be longer. "We have been insisting on this for decades and we are therefore happy, but we are not there yet. The most important step has been taken", director Co'tje Admiraal said to the news wire. "The ban not only provides a judge with the possibility to punish animal abusers more severely, but now the government also gives a clear signal that it finds ill-treatment and neglect of animals unacceptable."