§ 31. Mr. RADFORD
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to a recent case at Bakewell in which five youths were convicted of cruelty to a donkey; and whether, in view of the fact that magistrates are not at present able to order such offenders to be flogged and of the frequency of these offences, he will take the necessary steps to enable the worst cases of cruelty to animals to be punished by flogging?
§ The Secretary of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Sir John Gilmour)
The ease referred to had not previously come to my notice, but I have made inquiry and am informed that the youths in question, the eldest of whom was 17 and the youngest 15, injured the donkey by kicking it to make it go while they were riding it. They were bound over for two years and were also fined sums varying from £5 to £2. I do not see my way to initiate legislation on the lines suggested.
§ Mr. RADFORD
Did my right hon. Friend also elicit the fact that the chairman of the bench said it was the worst case of cruelty that the bench had had, and that they regretted they were not able to inflict corporal punishment?
§ 32. Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the case of one McGowan, who, according to the evidence given at the Nottingham Police Court, threw his dog into a canal three or four times and, after the animal had made its way back to him each time, battered it several times with a piece of wood and then buried it alive; and whether, in view of this case and similar instances of cruelty to animals, he will consider introducing legislation for the purpose of extending the powers of magistrates to deal with such brutality?
§ Sir J. GILMOUR
I have seen a newspaper report of the case from which it appears that the defendant was sentenced to seven days' imprisonment and was ordered to be disqualified from keeping a dog or obtaining a dog licence. The answer to the second part of the question is in the negative.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
In view of the inadequacy of the sentence imposed, will not my right hon. Friend consider circularising magistrates as to their actual powers in such cases, and their responsibilities as well?