Tougher sentences for animal abusers move forward in Saeima

The punishment people will face for cruelty to animals will become more severe, according to amendments supported in a second reading in the Saeima on Thursday, April 11.

It is planned that for cruelty to an animal resulting in its death, as well as for torture of an animal resulting in its death or mutilation, it will be possible to be sent to prison for up to five years (currently three years), as well as probationary supervision, and depriving persons of the right to keep certain or all species of animals for a period of up to five years (currently three years).

The changes were prompted by the evaluation of a petition signed by more than 31,000 citizens titled "Real prison sentences for animal torturers and killers".

As the authors of the bill note, particularly harmful and cruel treatment of animals is recognized in cases when it is committed in a public place or in the presence of a minor. For such crimes, the maximum term of imprisonment is expected to be increased to six years instead of the previously established five years, without the possibility of applying basic punishments such as community service and fines to violators, as is the case at present.

For the amendments to enter into force, the commission responsible for them and the Saeima have to decide on a final reading, alongside other amendments that also increase punishments for human-on-human violent acts.

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