TOUGHER sentences for people who harm animals moved a step closer today as ‘Baby’s Law’ was debated in the House of Commons.

The Bill, which started life as a private members bill introduced by Redcar MP Anna Turley, will see maximum sentences for animal abusers increased from six months to five years’ imprisonment.

The Labour MP proposed the bill after a case in her constituency which saw a bulldog named Baby brutally attacked by two brothers, who stamped on her and threw her down the stairs.

The pair walked free from court on a suspended sentence.

The Bill has taken some time to get to its second reading stage due to the onset of the General Election in 2017.

Now the government’s version has been brought to the Commons for its second reading.

Ms Turley told MPs: “I speak today on behalf of Baby the bulldog, and Scamp and so many other animals who met their end by the human hands who should have nurtured and stroked them. But instead abused and ultimately killed them.

“This change in the law has been a very long time coming because animal abusers have been getting away with a slap on the wrist for far too long.

“It was an incident of the most horrific animal cruelty, committed in my constituency, which first brought the complete inadequacy of sentences to my attention.

“Baby the Bulldog was held aloft by Andrew Frankish at the top of wooden stairs before he repeatedly threw her down them and laughed.

The Northern Echo:

“Baby was totally submissive throughout, not even making a noise when she landed on the stairs, bouncing to the foot of them and crashing through a babygate to the floor.

“Baby’s neck was stamped on. She was thrown to the floor with force, over and over.

“Her small chest was jumped on with the full body weight of one of the Frankish brothers.

“The younger man says, ‘See if we can make it scream any more. We should throw it down the stairs by its ears’, before he picks her up against the wall and head-butts her twice, then throws her down the stairs again.

“Baby was tortured and beaten by those who were supposed to care for her. The whole horrible ordeal seems to be for his and his brother Daniel Frankish’s entertainment, for fun as they film themselves laughing on a mobile phone.

“Baby should not have had to suffer this horrific abuse. But she did, and was put down shortly after the abuse took place.

“When the evidence was found two years later on a mobile phone card dropped on a supermarket floor, you would have expected her to have had justice.

“Thanks to the hard work by the police, the RSPCA and all those who gave evidence, the brothers were convicted of causing unnecessary suffering to her by subjecting her to unnecessary physical violence, an offence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

“But then she was let down once again by the law.

“The two brothers received a suspended sentence, six months’ tagged curfew and £300 in costs. No one can feel that the justice system did its job that day.”

Ms Turley also highlighted the case of Scamp the dog, which was found buried alive in woods near Redcar with a nail hammered into his head. The perpetrators received just four months in prison after pleading guilty.

The Northern Echo:

She said that 70 per cent of the UK public backed harsher sentences in the consultation for the Bill.

“We do not treat this crime with the weight that it warrants,” she said.

“If we are to continue declaring ourselves a nation of animal lovers, this Bill is necessary to send a loud and clear message that we take animal cruelty seriously.”