Last month, the government shelved the discussion over increasing penalties for animal abusers, running out of time to even consider it on a Friday afternoon. This month, a starving dog was found on the streets of Sutton, just outside of London. Several signs indicate he was deliberated starved - and if whoever did this is ever found, the maximum sentence they could expect to receive for their cruelty is just six months.
The crossbreed, named Stewart, was picked up by a member of the public as stray, and is now being cared for by Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. He is so weak he is being kept in isolation - the most minor infection could kill him.
Despite his near-total emaciation, Stewart is responsive and well-trained, raising serious questions about how he came to be this thin.
Battersea vet Shaun Opperman said, “We were all shocked when we first saw Stewart. He’s painfully thin and if he hadn’t come to us when he did, there’s no telling what might have happened to him.
“His claws were overgrown and his coat was in good condition, so it’s unlikely he’s been fending for himself for long. He’s on a rigorous feeding regime now as he’s so hungry and we need to make sure he’s getting enough nutrients.
“Despite what he’s been through, Stewart is a sweet and trusting dog. Now we have to hope he pulls through.”
Stewart puts a face to Battersea's latest campaign, #NotFunny.
— BatterseaDogs&Cats (@BDCH) March 27, 2017
The charity, along with many other UK animal welfare organisations, want the maximum sentence for animal abusers raised to five years, in proportion with many countries in Europe.
Featured image via Battersea Dogs and Cats Home.