Patrick Christys: Pet theft should be treated the same way as child kidnapping

If we really are a nation of animal lovers, we need to get tougher with the people who abuse them

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People who abuse animals should be prosecuted in the same way you’d prosecute abuse against a human.

A video has emerged of a female foxhunter appearing to kick and then punch a horse repeatedly.

In case you missed this video, here it is, just as a warning, it’s quite distressing to watch… Now, supposedly, we’re a nation of animal lovers, but it’s surprising how long it’s taken us for the law to catch up with that.

Now, this lady has been named as Sarah Moulds and, apparently, she’s a primary school teacher.

I mean, I’m all for a bit more discipline in schools but if this is how this woman treats animals, I’d raise serious questions about whether or not she’s fit to look after children.

There’s a bit of a myth at the moment that fox hunting has stopped. It hasn’t.

Just look at this recent court case of 60-year-old Mark Hankinson, who was convicted of encouraging others to hide the illegal hunting of live foxes behind a “smokescreen” of trail hunting.

He was literally dishing out advice on how to hide the fact that you’re hunting a fox.

That practice is utterly barbaric – what kind of person wakes up in the morning and thinks, right, I’m going to get on a horse and summon the dogs and I’m going to ride out into the countryside and watch as they rip a fox to pieces?

A lunatic, a psychopath, an absolute nutter – that’s who. I wonder whether or not it’s time to ban trail hunting – I suspect it’s just a rouse and that actually, it’s still fox hunting.

I mean, think about it, how can you control a pack of dogs, who’ve been bred to hunt, when you’re out in the open countryside. You just can’t.

There’s absolutely no animal welfare involved in any element of hunting – obviously the fox gets a raw deal, it looks like the horse might get punched in the face by a primary school teacher, there was a recent case where dogs who are no longer of use get shot in the back of the head… no element of this is good for the animals.

It needs to be stopped.

And it’s only recently that’s we’ve recognised that household pets, like dogs, aren’t simply property.

A law recently came in that can see people sentenced to seven years in prison if they nick a dog. I’d actually extend that – when you steal a dog, it’s not the same as stealing a bike, or a phone, or a laptop… you’re stealing a member of the family. I’ve had dogs and they were more or less a sibling to me – if someone steals a dog I think they should be prosecuted in the same way you would prosecute someone who kidnaps a child.

If we really are a nation of animal lovers, we need to get tougher with the people who abuse them.