Society

New Animal Cruelty Law in Mexico City Punishable by Jail Time

| by Phyllis M Daugherty

Mexico City has finally passed an animal-protection law which includes a hefty fine and jail time, according to Aljazeera.com. Under the new anti-cruelty law anyone abusing a domestic animal or wildlife in Mexico City will face a fine of up to $3,000 and up to four years in jail. Previously, Mexico City’s criminal code allowed only fines as penalties for animal cruelty.

The new law also specifies that abandoned pets, such as street dogs, cannot be mistreated or considered “pests,” as they have in the past. It is estimated that 3 million dogs are owned in the capital city, but there are also at least 120,000 strays in the streets who suffer widespread abuse.

Under the revised criminal code, passed in December but effective at the end of January, anyone who intentionally hurts animals in a way that leads to their death can be jailed up to four years and pay fines of as much as $3,000. If the cruelty to the animal does not result in death, the maximum sentence is two years and a maximum fine of $750.

Adam Raney of Aljazeera.com interviewed dog trainer Vicente Martinez in Mexico City while he was working with a group of dogs. He lamented the tragedy of people getting cute little puppies and then abandoning them in the streets when they get older, “like pieces of unwanted furniture.”

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

Raney also talked with dog owners and others throughout the city who applaud the law but doubt that there will be serious enforcement. Elizabeth Guerra said, “We have laws against drugs and human trafficking also, but they are not enforced.”

Recently, four people were mauled to death in Cerro de la Estrella, a hilly woodland park in the eastern part of Mexico City, with stray dogs blamed for the incident. Although medical experts confirmed the bite marks on the bodies that suggested at least 10 dogs were involved, of the 25 rounded up, none could be positively identified as involved and they were all set free.

This served as the catalyst which united hundreds of animal lovers and activists all over the City, demanding tougher laws to protect both owned and stray animals.

VIEW ALJAZEERA.COM (English) VIDEO; http://www.aljazeera.com/video/americas/2013/02/20132305550321329.html