“Few people will forget the harrowing images of the pet dog, Cody, who was horrifically injured after being doused in petrol and set alight in 2012.
“This shocking case of animal cruelty rightly prompted calls for tougher powers to deal with those who abuse animals.
“The new powers contained in the Justice Bill will see the maximum sentences handed down from the Crown Court for animal cruelty increase from two years to five years.
“It also includes the doubling of the maximum prison sentence for anyone found guilty of causing unnecessary suffering, or organising or attending animal fights from six months to 12 months, as well as increasing fines to up to £20,000.
“These powers will strengthen our existing animal safety regulations implemented by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill.
“Sinn Féin will work with the Justice Minister to ensure these new powers are implemented so that animal cruelty can be stamped out.”