13 Apr 2015

Stronger animal welfare laws for Cook Islands

2:01 pm on 13 April 2015

The Cook Islands SPCA is drafting amendments to the country's animal welfare laws in a bid to bring in harsher penalties for people who mistreat their pets and livestock.

Whangarei SPCA inspectors rescued a record six emaciated dogs in October 2014.

Cook Islands on track to get stronger animal welfare laws Photo: SUPPLIED

Its president Sharon Reichart says the new law will be based around five concepts, including ensuring freedom from thirst, hunger, discomfort, pain and fear.

She says current laws are outdated and ineffective.

"At the moment, the maximum fine is $20. In the old law, I think it's about $500 if you steal a collar and registration off a dog but $20 for cruelty. So I mean things certainly need to be changed. But we would just, at this point, like to see there is consequences for abuse or cruely or neglect."

Sharon Reichart says penalties would not all be monetary, but could include spending a week with the SPCA to learn about animal welfare.

The law change will need police endorsement before it goes to parliament.