Calls for harsher penalty over animal cruelty

Pic of Issac, the terrier which was burned alive in Skye Edge, Sheffield.
Pic of Issac, the terrier which was burned alive in Skye Edge, Sheffield.
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THE ‘evil’ thug who tortured, beat and burned to death a pet dog in Sheffield faces a maximum of only six months behind bars if convicted.

Today dog lovers called for harsher sentences for animal cruelty, and urged supporters to sign an online petition which already has more than 28,000 signatures.

Police have not yet charged anyone over the horror attack on nine-year-old terrier, Issac, battered and set alight on wasteland off Manor Laith Road, Skye Edge. His back legs had been broken and he had been tied up with flex.

A 28-year-old suspect has been arrested and bailed on suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal - an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

The maximum sentence available to magistrates would be six months in prison, and a £20,000 fine, and an accused cannot be dealt with at crown court.

One name for the suspect has been circulating widely on the internet - and police have warned the public against vigilantism.

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Police said: “Officers are aware of comments on social media, and warn the public not to take the law into their own hands - or police action will be taken.”

Issac’s remains were discovered last weekend, horrifying dog lovers across the county.

The online petition - at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/34522 - calls for ‘zero tolerance on animal abuse’, two years in prison, and the option of a lifetime ban.

Zaffer Zaheralia, who co-owns Wendy’s Dog Grooming salons in Sheffield, said the petition needs 100,000 names to generate a Parliamentary debate.

“We need 100,000 signatures for Parliament to increase the sentence from six months to two years at least,” he said.

“Dogs are family, and we want justice.”

Star reader Louise Frankie agreed. “Whether it’s a human or an animal, it’s still cold blooded murder,” she said.

Reader Lisa Youle added: “The punishment of animal abuse needs to be as tough as if it was a person. It is well known people who abuse animals go on to abuse people.”

Issac, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier owned by heartbroken Andy McNamara, was led to his death after being stolen from a garden on Boundary Avenue, Wybourn, last weekend.

A Facebook page, Justice for Issac, has been set up by Rachelle Bannister-Hind, 42, from Arbourthorne, who was caring for the dog when he was taken, and already has over 2,000 members.

On the site, animal lover Lisa Pudge said: “I cannot get this story out of my head. This act of sheer torture made me sick to the stomach.

“No normal human being would do such a thing.”

Anyone with information about the dog attack should call police on 101, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.