A DOG found abandoned and injured by the side of a road in west Dorset has inspired a new move to try and get tougher sentences for people who have committed serious animal cruelty offences.

The springer spaniel was found at Batcombe Down by farmer's son Chris Loder who took it in and ensured it got emergency veterinary treatment. Those medical issues should have been addressed by the dog's previous owner.

The dog, named Poppy, is now a treasured farm dog and family pet and Mr Loder is now West Dorset MP.

Tomorrow, he hopes Parliament will give its backing to his own Private Members’ Bill, the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill, which would increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty tenfold – from six months in prison to five years.

This would be one of the toughest sanctions for animal abuse in Europe.

The amendment was first put to Parliament in July 2016 by Redcar MP, Anna Turley, following an incident that saw two young men filming themselves throwing a bulldog down a flight of stairs.

A public consultation in 2017 showed that more than 70% of people supported the proposals for tougher prison sentences.

Mr Loder said: "I was inspired to introduce this Bill by my own dog Poppy, now a much-loved farm dog and family pet, who I found abandoned at the roadside.

“Despite legislation being in place, I was shocked to learn that in 2019 the RSPCA investigated more than 130,700 complaints of cruelty against animals and secured 1,678 convictions.

“I believe more stringent sentencing will act as a greater deterrent against animal cruelty.

"We are renowned as a nation of animal lovers and I believe Britain can take now the lead on global standards for animal welfare. I look forward to my Bill contributing to raising these standards."

Mr Loder has wide support from cross-party MPs, Defra, the RSPCA and other leading animal welfare organisations.

The second reading of the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill will take place at the House of Commons at 9.30am tomorrow.

It was originally presented to Parliament in February through the ballot procedure.

Mr Loder is confident the Government will support the proposals and hopeful that the law will be changed next year.