The RSPCA has launched a pioneering new rehabilitation scheme for people convicted of animal welfare offences.
People who are convicted of causing suffering to animals can now be ordered by magistrates’ courts to take part in an RSPCA pilot intervention programme aimed at stopping re-offending.
Kent has been one of the first counties to trial the pilot programme, the first education and intervention specifically focused on animal welfare.
The course aims to teach participants about the basic needs of animals, their feelings and how to be a responsible owner as well as teaching them strategies to make better choices and decisions.
Magistrates have already ordered the first offenders to take part in the new programme. They pleaded guilty to a string of allegations relating to three cats that had been abandoned at a property, where one cat was found dead in his litter tray.
David Allen, head of education at the RSPCA, said: “The RSPCA works hard to educate the public about the needs of animals but our inspectors sadly still see far too many cases of appalling cruelty and neglect.
“It may seem strange for the RSPCA to be helping people who have neglected and abused animals, but until now there hasn’t been any opportunity to address the issues that might have led to that abuse happening. We really hope this programme will enable us to target that behaviour and stop those involved harming animals again.”