6. Deprivation of ownership of animal

Guideline users should be aware that the Equal Treatment Bench Book covers important aspects of fair treatment and disparity of outcomes for different groups in the criminal justice system. It provides guidance which sentencers are encouraged to take into account wherever applicable, to ensure that there is fairness for all involved in court proceedings.

Where an offender convicted of one of the following offences under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, is the owner of an animal in relation to which the offence is committed, the court may make an order depriving him or her of ownership of the animal and for its disposal (Animal Welfare Act 2006, s.33).

  1. causing unnecessary suffering (s.4);
  2. mutilation (s.5);
  3. docking of dogs’ tails (ss.6(1) and 6(2));
  4. administration of poisons etc. (s.7);
  5. fighting etc. (s.8);
  6. breach of duty to ensure welfare (s.9);
  7. breach of disqualification order (s.34(9)).

The court is required to give reasons if it decides not to make such an order.

Deprivation of ownership may be ordered instead of or in addition to dealing with the offender in any other way.