Animal Welfare Offences

Growing concern for animal welfare, combined with the prevalence of mobile phone cameras mean that reports of poor animal care or cruelty have risen dramatically in recent years. Our Rural team have extensive experience advising famers and other owners in animal welfare cases. With our roots firmly in the farming community of the South West, we understand the challenges and pressures of raising and transporting livestock and have a detailed understanding of the law regarding animal welfare.

Animal welfare offences are typically prosecuted by the RSPCA, local authorities and Crown Prosecution Service.

This can be a complex and highly emotive area of law, and investigations can ultimately result in the removal or even destruction of your animals, whether they are domestic pets, working animals or livestock.

The most common cases we encounter are allegations of causing unnecessary suffering, dangerously out of control dogs, and disputes over who is responsible for an animal or animals. All of these prosecutions require careful consideration but for farmers they can be especially significant. Animal welfare prosecutions, especially when made public, can cause severe reputational damage and impact relationships with customers and the local community as well as attracting substantial fines and a criminal conviction.

Our Rural team has wide ranging experience advising farmers and other animal owners on how best to respond to animal welfare investigations and prosecutions, including advice on the recovery of your animal(s) or the prevention of their destruction.

Whatever the case, we will help you develop the most suitable approach and support you in achieving the best possible outcome for your farm or business, including developing strategies that may enable you to avoid prosecution.

For private animal owners – pet owners – we can also help you understand the best way to respond to an animal welfare prosecution and avoid the removal and/or destruction of a pet.


Chris Andrews

Head of Criminal Defence

News & Events

Key contact

Chris Andrews

Head of Criminal Defence

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Call us on 0800 328 3282, or complete the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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