Many local people are animal lovers – caring for their pets, service animals, wildlife, and livestock. Most Manx people take great care of the animals that we share this island with.

But not everyone shows such love and care for animals. While animal abuse and animal cruelty is thankfully rare on the Isle of Man, we should ensure that our laws reflects our values as a caring community.

Manx animal welfare legislation is primarily controlled by the Animal Health Act 1996 and the Cruelty to Animals Act 1997. The IOM Government has been terribly slow to upgrade the protection of local animals, dragging their feet on introducing new legislation. They promised that this would be introduced many years ago – but they have failed[1] to give animal protection the priority that it deserves. Josem will be a strong voice on behalf of Douglas South residents to introduce modern animal welfare protections in the Isle of Man.

Protect service animals by supporting the introduction of Finn’s Law in the Isle of Man

The story behind Finn’s Law in the UK

Finn is a retired police dog, who was part of a dog unit in England. Finn is highly trained and won many awards whilst helping his handler, PC Dave Wardell.

On 5th October 2016, PC Wardell and Finn were chasing a robbery suspect. The suspect was carrying a large knife and he attacked PC Wardell.

Bravely, Finn tried to protect his handler and jumped between the attacker and PC Wardell. The attacker tried to hurt Finn as well. Miraculously, thanks to Finn, PC Wardell was barely hurt. However, Finn was very badly injured.

Currently, there is no specific law against hurting a police animal whilst it is on duty. Finn’s attacker was charged with assault for hurting PC Wardell and also charged with ‘criminal damage’ for what he did to Finn.

This is the same charge that he would get if he had deliberately smashed a window. Service animals like Finn are more valuable than a window pane. Petitions were launched to change the law so that anyone who hurts a police dog or horse would get the same punishment as if they had hurt a police officer. This law became known as “Finn’s Law”.

As a result of these British petitions, the law in England, Wales and, most recently, Scotland was changed to treat harm to police service dogs as more than mere criminal damage. Michael Josem will be a strong voice to similarly upgrade protections for service animals like Finn on the Isle of Man.[2]

Tougher penalties for animal abusers

Under the Manx legislation above, offences such as cruelly torturing an animal are subject to a maximum of just 6 months in prison, or £5,000 fine, or both. Manx people have told Josem that this is too soft on people who deliberately torture animals, and Michael Josem will be a strong voice to increase the maximum sentence for animal cruelty offences to at least one year in prison. This will upgrade Manx law to become at least equal to UK law.

Oppose the Government’s proposal to bring in partridges and shoot them

On July 17, the Isle of Man Courier revealed Government proposals to import grey partridges to the Isle of Man and shoot them. The community response has been swift and decisive and Michael Josem will oppose such changes.

Support barring people convicted of animal cruelty from keeping animals

The vast majority of people who keep domestic and commercial animals on the Isle of Man are good people. They deeply care for their animals. But a small minority do not behave appropriately, and some are convicted of animal cruelty. Such people should not be allowed to continue keeping animals, and Michael Josem will be a strong voice to bar people convicted of animal cruelty from keeping animals on the Isle of Man.

Banning electric shock collars for pets

Local residents have said the we should replicate the UK’s ban on electric shock collars for pets. As a result, Josem will be a strong voice to support banning electric shock collars for cats and dogs in the Isle of Man.

[1] Look at this foot dragging by the Isle of Man Government in the words of one lawyer late last year: “In April 2016, the Council of Ministers accepted a recommendation by the Select Committee on Animal Welfare to establish a Forum to assist in drafting an Animal Welfare Bill with the ultimate intention of introducing the legislation in the 2016/17 legislative year. This has not yet occurred and it is unclear whether the Animal Welfare Bill remains on the legislative agenda.”

[2] With thanks to Charles Price of Port Erin and other lawyers for their assistance with this.

Header photo credit: International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

Michael Josem is a long-term consumer advocate, most prominently as a global leader in combating fraud in the online gambling industry. He was in part the inspiration for the 20th Century Fox Movie, Runner Runner, starring Ben Affleck and Justin Timberlake.

Josem has over a decade of experience as a senior business leader working across various high-tech and online industries, and takes action to build a better community. His primary volunteer roles include service for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and Graih, the homelessness charity.

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