A jail time increase for the worst cases of animal cruelty has been proposed by the government.

Michael Gove has put forward a parliamentary bill that raises the maximum jail term from six months to five years for cases of animal cruelty, including dog fighting, abuse of puppies and kittens or neglect of farm animals.

Jessie Bascombe, trustee and founder member of SNDogs, welcomed the move, saying: “This is a long time coming and doesn’t go far enough.

“All too often we hear of sickening cases, people involved in dog fighting rings.

“Theses are all cases of depraved minds where this was premeditated and these people deserve higher sentences.

“A lot of people don’t realise they can also talk to their animal welfare officer at the council or their dog warden about concerns they have about animals.

“If someone isn’t coping with their pet and feel they need help, they should talk to their local rescues.

Rescues will do their best to help and won’t judge if you ask for help.”