The Greenock Telegraph launched its Justice for Pets campaign in June after it revealed a man suspected of bludgeoning defenceless animals to death with a golf club at a petting zoo on its patch would not face justice.
A time bar loophole in Scottish animal welfare legislation prevents the accused man ever being prosecuted, and the Telegraph has been pushing for a change in the law ever since.
Now the newspaper will hand over a petition signed by more than 5,000 readers to Richard Lochhead, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, which demands his government takes action on the matter.
The attack, to which the suspect is linked by DNA evidence, also saw his dog maul other animals to death.
But the Animal Health and Welfare (Scotland) Act of 2006 prevents people accused of such offences from being pursued after a specific length of time has elapsed.
Famous faces backing the Justice for Pets campaign include pop star Ronan Keating’s wife Storm Uechtritz and X Factor contestant Abi Alton.
Telegraph editor Brian Hossack and reporter David Goodwin will hand over the petition to Mr Lochhead on Wednesday, along with a cross-party delegation of Inverclyde politicians who have supported the campaign.
Said Brian: “Our campaign has received overwhelming cross-party political support and backing from the general public in Inverclyde, across Scotland and as far afield as Australia and the USA online.
“Our online petition and hard copy petitions have been signed by more than 5,000 people and we have also received the support of celebrities including actor Martin Compston and TV presenter Jean Johansson, while a vigil for the animals who were brutally slaughtered has been held by campaigners.
“To time bar a prosecution for a crime against an animal when there is ample evidence to bring the case to court is ridiculous.
“Through our campaign we hope to change this law and offer proper protection to pets and animals across Scotland. Pets’ Corner was a crime in Inverclyde, but this is very much a national issue.”
He added: “I’m incredibly proud of the Telegraph’s news team, photographer George Munro and our sub editors who have championed this cause and put a lot of hours into making the campaign such as success.
“They deserve huge credit for all their hard work.”