Animal Cruelty in Queensland
In Queensland, the current legislation regarding animal cruelty is the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 and the Criminal Code 1899. Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 superseded the Animals Protection Act 1925.
The objectives of the Animal Care and Protection Act 2001 act was to achieve reasonable balance between the welfare needs of animals and the interest of people who keep animals. Further it was to maintain and legislate community expectations for how animals should be treated.
When first released, any person found guilty of animal cruelty was liable to a maximum of 1,000 penalty units or a maximum of 2 years imprisonment. The current value of a penalty unit is $133.45, meaning a person would be liable for a fine of up to $13,345,000. The legislation was aimed at both domestic and commercial animal owners, including farmers. This was later increased in 2014 to 2,000 penalty units or a maximum of 3 years imprisonment.
However also in 2014, the government introduced a new law within the Criminal Code 1899. Anyone found guilty of committing serious animal cruelty can now be liable for up to 7 years imprisonment. This offence is much more serious. When releasing this law, the government commended the law on applying to a narrow cohort of offenders who intentionally torture an animal.
Most cases prosecuted under this section either receive a substantial fine (over $5,000) with a conviction recorded or receive a wholly suspended term of imprisonment. There have been some cases where offenders found guilty of this offence have been imprisoned. Of these cases, the term of imprisonment received was between 12 – 30 months.