Jail sentences on way for all animal abusers: Minister
The Justice Ministry is working on a new regulation to introduce jail sentences for people found guilty of abusing animals, Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said on Oct. 4 in the capital Ankara.
The 151st article of Turkey’s Criminal Code already requires between four months and three years in jail for those found guilty of torturing or killing animals, but only if the animals have an owner. The ministry’s new regulation will widen the scope of the law amid a series of recent reports about incidents of cruelty to animals, with activists saying current punishments are not harsh enough.
“[Torturing animals] is a crime that demands between four months and three years in jail at present. But work is now being undertaken regarding this crime. Our ministry is working on what can be done to increase deterrence. Every living being is entrusted to the state, the administration, everyone. Aware of this, our work on needs and deficiencies started last week,” Gül said at parliament’s General Assembly.
Meanwhile, eight dead puppies were found on Oct. 4, World Animal Day, wrapped in a blanket and thrown into a trash can in an apartment garbage collection area of Ankara’s Mamak district, Doğan News Agency has reported.
Apartment locals notified the police of the situation, who came to the scene to investigate. The building manager told police that no one was keeping a dog at the apartment, so the puppies may have been dumped into the trash from elsewhere.
Police have launched an investigation into the incident.
In a separate incident, two female tourists in the popular resort town of Bodrum filed a complaint to the authorities over being assaulted by local business owners after they warned them not to kick street dogs, Doğan News Agency has reported.
The incident occurred at around 7.30 p.m. near Bodrum’s famous Bar Street (“Barlar Sokağı” in Turkish) on Oct. 3. As the two women, aged 36 and 42, were looking into shop windows with their own dogs, a stray dog approached them and a local shop owner allegedly kicked the dogs in an attempt to send them away from his store.
The two women criticized this reaction, after which the shop owners turned physically violent against them along with other workers.
Following the incident, the women were taken to the Bodrum Public Hospital for treatment and the police on Oct. 4 detained four people involved. One suspect was released after giving his testimony and the remaining three people were referred to the local court an arrest demand on charges of “insulting and causing deliberate injury.”
“I have been a shopkeeper in the area for 14 years. The women came with their dogs and when a stray dog came along I pushed it with my feet to make him go away. I didn’t kick it, unlike [the women] claimed,” one of the detained suspects said in his testimony.
“Then they insulted and swore at me. They discriminated against me based on a western-eastern [Turkey] distinction. When started to use such phrases things got out of control. I lost myself. I am a citizen of the Turkish Republic but they insulted me,” he added.
“I told them, ‘I hold a Turkish Republic ID, I work here, I earn my money here.’ My accent may resemble those of eastern provinces. So what? When they tried to attack and slap me I hit them back. When my friends tried to separate us, a brawl occurred. We have also filed a complaint against the women,” he also said.