Animal abusers face jail as new law is approved today

It’s been hailed as a “big step forward” in the fight against animal cruelty – a draft law that criminalises animal abuse and abandonment cases was approved today (July 16) in Parliament with favourable votes from PSD, PS, CDS-PP and BE. Only PCP voted against it.
The law introduces heavy penalties such as prison and hefty fines for those found to have mistreated or abandoned a pet animal, while also granting more rights to animal protection associations.
Well known animal lover and Algarve MP for the PSD, Cristóvão Norte has helped draft the bill and present it to parliament. He says he now hopes the law will come into effect as soon as September this year.
Once implemented, animal abusers, who “without a legitimate motive inflict pain, suffering or any other kind of physical mistreatment to a pet animal”, face a one-year prison sentence or a 120-day fine.
If mistreatment intends to “cause the animal’s death or serious and/or permanent injury to the animal, compromising its ability to move” then the accused faces being locked up for up to two years or a 240-day fine.
Abandoning pet animals will also be punishable by a six-month jail sentence or a 60-day fine.
Animal associations will also be able to call on the help of the authorities and courts to prevent any eventual cases of animal mistreatment or abandonment that they may become aware of.
They will also be allowed to assist the authorities in such cases without having to pay any kind of judicial fees.
The approval of the law has been praised by many animal rights groups. Maria da Conceição, president of PRAVI, has said that the law “is a big step forward”, although she believes there are still some issues that the law does not touch upon.
One of the main concerns is that the authorities may take a light-handed approach when it comes to animal abuse cases and thus the law will be rendered ineffective.