New legislation introduces up to 10 year prison sentence for animal torture

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People in Greece accused of animal torture will be dealt much harsher penalties and potentially longer prison sentences if convicted in court, according to an amendment voted on unanimously in the Greek parliament on Thursday. 

As part of the amendment to the Justice Ministry bill, any acts of extreme cruelty to animals will be punished by up to 10 years imprisonment. The offences include “poisoning, hanging, burning, crushing, mutilating” animals.

Under the current law, such offences carry a prison sentence of at least one year and fines ranging between 5,000 and 15,000 euros.

Dog in a cage. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

The Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure, Makis Voridis, announced a tightening of legal framework three weeks ago, after increasing cases of reported animal abuse.

According to a statement from the Ministry, “the specific initiative of the Minister follows his announcements for further tightening of the existing legal framework in order to make the prosecution and punishment of tortured animals more effective.”

READ MORE: Greek government cracks down on animal torture

The minister adds that, “incidents of violence against animals have no place in a favoured state and constitute a serious insult to both the state and Greek society, while pointing out that there is an urgent need to toughen penalties in order to eliminate this kind of unacceptable phenomena”.

Under the newly proposed amendment, temporarily seized pets and animals will be permanently taken away from their owners if they fail to commit to the financial costs of the animal’s restoration of health, its veterinary care and the proper living conditions.

Based on data from the Report Animal Abuse Greece website, 809 complaints were registered in 2014, while in 2018 the number jumped to 3,734.

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