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Photo: KRISTA MANGULSONE/UNSPLASH

Law criminalising mistreatment of pet animals IS constitutional, says court

Constitutional Court announces “successive review process”

The ‘good news’ today is that the law criminalising the mistreatment of pet animals is, after all, constitutional.

The Constitutional Court analysed the law at the request of the Public Prosecutor’s Office – which has been of the view that the law is unconstitutional, and thus several convictions have fallen on appeal.

Said the court today: “As part of a process of successive abstract review of constitutionality, originating from a request by the Public Prosecutor’s Office to generalise previous judgments of unconstitutionality (…), the Plenary analysed the grounds on which several previous decisions judged the type of crime of mistreatment of pets to be unconstitutional (…),” and decided “not to declare the rule unconstitutional”.

This means that, contrary to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the “majority of judges” of the Constitutional Court consider the rule that criminalises anyone who kills or mistreats pets without a legitimate reason to be constitutional.

“Regarding the question of whether or not there is a legal good in the Constitution that enables (or allows) the incrimination of this type of crime, the majority of the judges voted in the affirmative,” also clearly stating that “the protection of the defence of animal welfare is part of the material Constitution and integrates the set of values reflected in the Law“.

In the same vein, the judges ruled that “with regard to the violation of the principle of criminal legality, in terms of whether the law is correct in its enunciation of the elements that describe the punishable conduct and its object (“pet animal”, “mistreatment”), the Plenary also ruled that it was not unconstitutional, with the casting vote for this decision made by the President of the Constitutional Court.

There have been no reactions yet from animal rights campaigners, or others, to this decision, but it will delight the 104,500 people who signed an online petition demanding a law that can be properly enforced. We will carry updates when these come through. ND 

Source: SIC Notícias