The level of custodial sentence provided in the Animal Health and Welfare Act is imprisonment for a maximum of 6 months in respect of each offence in the District Court with cumulative maximum period of imprisonment of 2 years in cases where there are a number offences and a maximum sentence of 5 years in respect of a conviction on indictment.
This legislation was drafted under the advice of the Office of Parliamentary Counsel in the Attorney General's Office. Therefore these penalties are in line with the approach taken under Irish legislation more generally. I am satisfied that the level of sentence is appropriate and effective. Of course, the actual level of sentence in any particular instance, is a matter for the trial judge who is independent in the exercise of this and other judicial functions.