Guidance on Offences, Penalties and Exculsions
Proceedings for Animal Fighting Offences - Section 44
Unless otherwise provided, proceedings for a statutory offence must normally be brought within 6 months of the offence being committed if the offence may only be tried summarily (i.e. by a sheriff without a jury) (Criminal Procedure (S) Act 1995 s.136). Proceedings are deemed to be commenced on the date on which a warrant to apprehend or to cite the accused is granted, provided that the warrant is executed without undue delay. However, this section extends that time period for offences under the animal fighting section of the Act, to a maximum period of 6 months from the date on which evidence sufficient in the prosecutor's opinion to justify proceedings came to the knowledge of the prosecutor. A certificate by the prosecutor setting out the date on which such evidence came to the prosecutor's knowledge is sufficient to provide evidence of that fact.
No proceedings can be brought more than 3 years after the commission of the offence, and, in the case of a continuous contravention, 3 years after the last date on which the offence was last committed. Nevertheless, in the case of a continuous contravention, the whole period of the contravention may be included in the offence charged (even if part of it occurred outwith the time limits specified above).
Penalties for Offences - Section 46
Except in the case of an animal fight offence or an offence which caused an animal unnecessary suffering, a person who commits an offence under Part 2 is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for up to 6 months or to a fine up to level 5 (currently £5,000) on the standard scale, or to both. For animal fighting and unnecessary suffering, a person who commits an offence is liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for up to 12 months or to a fine not exceeding £20,000 or to both.
A person who commits an offence under regulations made under Part 2 of the Act is liable on summary conviction to the penalty specified in the regulations, but these penalties cannot exceed imprisonment of up to 6 months or a fine up to level 5 on the standard scale, or to both.
Exclusions - Section 47
As the subject matter of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is reserved to the Westminster Parliament, the animal welfare provisions in Part 2 of the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act 2006 do not extend to animals being used in scientific procedures. However, animals on premises where these procedures are carried out are not excluded from these provisions when the animals are not involved in scientific procedures.
Anything done in the normal course of fishing is also excluded from the provisions of Part 2 of the Act. This exclusion covers sea fishing and angling but not fish farming. Fish on fishing boats are not covered under the Act, but the welfare of fish transported after landing is covered.