An online petition for stricter sentencing has reached almost 3000 signatures after the sexual assault of a horse in New Pitsligo.
The change.org petition, Justice for Blaze, calls for “help to change the law and level of sentencing for the crime of horse mutilation” after the incident last week where Blaze was stabbed and “sexually violated”, needing to be put to sleep when she was found.
The incident, which happened between the hours of 9 pm and 6 am on the night of Sunday 16 August, sparked a social media outcry, with a reward of £1000 posted on Facebook for any information that led to an arrest.
The petition currently has 2867 supporters, with another 2133 needed to reach its 5000 target.
It is directed at Cabinet Secretary for Justice Michael Matheson, and claims that due to the “pain and loss suffered from this level of cruelty” that the “law needs to be changed”.
The Scottish Government pointed out that the courts do have the necessary powers to convict any perpetrators justly.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Animal cruelty and abuse are abhorrent and cannot be tolerated in a modern, civilised society.
“Section 19 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 makes it an offence for a person to cause an animal unnecessary suffering and brings with it a fine of up to £20,000 or imprisonment for a maximum period of 12 months, or both.
“The Scottish Government considers that the Act currently provides the courts with the proprtionate powers to adequatly sentence those found giulty.”
However, the petition claims that it is the prison sentencing that needs reassessing: “Review is required for the enforcing of heavier sentences given out, not fines, which are an ineffectual deterrent.”