Animal Welfare

Animal Welfare and Animal Cruelty Prosecutions: Legal Defence Service

Allegations of animal cruelty or other animal welfare offences are the most emotive of all issues dealt with by Criminal Matters. When clients are wrongly accused of crimes under the Animal Welfare Act, Richard Wood, a barrister, can help you to protect your reputation, and safeguard what will often be your much loved family pet.

Make no mistake – these are often the most robustly prosecuted offences. The RSPCA can be highly motivated even to the point of being positively vindictive. Those alleged to have committed animal welfare offences or animal cruelty offences can end up losing their family pets, their reputations, or even their liberty, unless they can secure the best possible advice. Such cases must be dealt with like any other serious criminal offence.


Animal cruelty offences are usually prosecuted by the RSPCA, but it could be by their local authorities or by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Punishments are often serious and include seizure, or destruction of your animal, up to six months in prison, and/or lifetime disqualification from keeping animals. The RSPCA will also expect you to pay their costs of the prosecution, which will often be in the region of £5,000 to £10,000.


What a clients have said about Richard Wood:

“I thought I would drop you a note to say what a truly fantastic job you have done for me. Whilst I appreciate that today was perhaps run of the mill for you it most certainly was not for me.”


Mrs TB: Acquitted of an allegation of breach of a disqualification order (Animal Welfare Act 2006) in 2015


You will often need to consider obtaining specialist scientific or veterinary evidence to defend the allegation. Prosecutions by the RSPCA will usually be supported by their own experts. It can be surprisingly difficult to find your own vet to give evidence and support your argument that the animal was not treated inappropriately and that perhaps there were other reasonable reasons for the animals health issues.

Richard Wood has dealt with a whole variety of offences from cruelty to animals, including cats and horses, hunting with dogs, disturbance of rare animals and wild birds, and prosecutions for breach of animal movement regulations, including cattle passports.

If you have previously been disqualified from keeping animals, he can seek to have the disqualification set aside. He can also resist the making of a destruction order, or contingent destruction order by the court, if the case involves ‘dangerous’ dogs.

If you need to contact me about animal cruelty allegations or anything to do with animal welfare offences, then please call 0800 4334 613 for a free no obligation discussion about your case.

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