Thug life: The SPCA is concerned that animal welfare issues get overlooked as law enforcement agencies focus on gang violence. *iStock photo
Thug life: The SPCA is concerned that animal welfare issues get overlooked as law enforcement agencies focus on gang violence. *iStock photo

The Society for the Protection of Animals has called for courts to impose tougher sentencing in animal cruelty cases.

The move comes after 24-year-old Nasir Brangman walked free from court with a probation order this week after drowning his pit bull.

Brangman killed his pet at Clearwater Beach last November after it had attacked and killed a Pomeranian puppy belonging to his neighbour.

Yesterday the SPCA claimed animal cruelty cases had become the “poor relation” of criminal investigations and law enforcement in the current climate of violence and gun crime.

A statement on behalf of the charity added: “Such an approach to these investigations reflects badly on society.

“ If you have no respect for your dog or horse’s welfare then why should it come as any surprise that you don’t respect the individual two streets away?

“Tougher sentencing might just make that difference.“

Last August ex-prison officer, Craig Clarke, received a conditional discharge after admitting causing suffering to his 13-year-old Rottweiler, Sapphire.

The 44-year-old’s pet was found emaciated and tied to a tree when the SPCA attended his North Shore Road home last May.

The SPCA told the Bermuda Sun: “We have looked back in our archives and it appears that the sentencing of those convicted of animal abuse is getting more lenient as time goes on. In the 21st century the Courts should be sending out a message that such abuse and neglect is just not acceptable.

“In a case in 2004 when a man buried his two dogs alive the Courts handed down a nine-month prison sentence. Whilst in a case very similar to the Clarke case last summer the owner of a dog that was found emaciated and near death was fined $1,000.  He too wanted it to ‘die naturally’.

“The oldest case we have come across so far is in 1996 where Magistrate Edward King handed out a $750 fine for cruelty to -horses.”