ANIMAL abusers will be jailed for up to five years Michael Gove declared last night.
The Environment Secretary signalled a clampdown on both pets and livestock.
Britain currently has some of the weakest punishments for vile animal torture with a maximum sentence is six months.
But Mr Gove last night vowed to increase that tenfold.
Last night he said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and so we must ensure that those who commit the most shocking cruelty towards animals face suitably tough punishments.
“These plans will give courts the tools they have requested to deal with the most abhorrent acts.
And he vowed to use next week’s Tory party conference to set out his ideas “to deliver world-leading standards of animal welfare in the years ahead.”
More than 1,100 people are locked up ever year for animal cruelty, but only a handful were slapped with the current maximum sentence.
Under new plans courts will retain the ability to hand out an unlimited fine and ban an offender from owning animals in the future.
But soon they will also have the ability to subject the worst offenders to a long-term prison sentence.
The move will bring maximum sentences for animal cruelty in England into line with other countries such as Australia, Canada and Ireland.
Last night Mr Gove's announcement delighted animal welfare campaigners.
RSPCA head of public affairs David Bowles said: “We are thrilled that the Government has responded to calls from the RSPCA and members of the public to toughen up sentences for the worst animal abusers."
He added "We now feel that those who commit these acts will soon be receiving sentences that reflect the seriousness of their crime and hope this will act as a real deterrent against cruelty and neglect.
And Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, said they were also thrilled that "plans to raise the maximum sentence for the most abhorrent cases of animal cruelty in England from six months to five years."
Boss Claire Horton said: "This shows that the political will is there to make the punishment fit the crime and so many innocent animals will benefit from their actions.
“This news will be very positively received by the public, the majority of whom share Battersea's wish to see this change."
It comes after a dog died after making a desperate bid for freedom by digging her way out of the squalid kennel she was kept in for three months.
Rottweiler Maisie was found tunnelling out "in her death throes" and her owner Cathryn Tarbuck was banned from keeping animals for life after admitting causing unnecessary suffering at Birmingham Magistrates Court.