If you've ever felt frustrated when you've read that an animal abuser was slapped with a puny penalty or that an authority pooh-poohed a plea for compassion, you're sure to exclaim "Bravo, Bulgaria!" by the end of this post.
A week ago, Bulgarian agriculture minister Miroslav Naydenov was asked by animal defenders to strengthen penalties that animal abusers must face after an unidentified person tortured a dog named Mima by hacking off her legs—yes, all of them—and leaving her for dead. Lawmakers, lawyers, and others got right down to business, and one week later, Naydenov is ready to present an amendment in the National Assembly, and it is expected to pass easily.
Under the amended law, anyone found guilty of causing permanent injury or death to an animal will face one to three years in jail and fines that may exceed US$10,000 (thanks, currency converter). Repeat offenders or those who torture and/or kill animals in front of children will face up to five years imprisonment and doubled fines.
While the law did not come in time to make Mima's torturer pause and consider the consequences of his or her stomach-turning cruelty, it does send a message to would-be animal abusers that they'll face more than a slap on the wrist if they are caught and convicted.
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The moral of this story is always to ask decisionmakers to take action on behalf of animals. Who knows? Their response just might surprise you.