Jail terms sought for suspects in mass poisoning of dogs

Jail terms sought for suspects in mass poisoning of dogs

Jail terms sought for suspects in mass poisoning of dogs

Prosecutors are seeking long jail terms for three suspects accused of the mass poisoning of dogs in Ankara – a case that has fueled debate over Turkey’s laws on animal rights.

Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office has asked for sentences of at least five years and four months in jail.

The suspects are accused of feeding poison-laced chicken meat to at least 16 dogs in the Batıkent neighborhood of Ankara’s Yenimahalle district on April 9, according to the indictment prepared by the chief public prosecutor.

Some of the dogs died and others had permanent damage from consuming the poison. Three of the dogs belonged to a local woman, Buket Özgünlü, the indictment said.

An insecticide known as methomyl was used to poison the dogs, according to a report by Ankara University’s veterinary faculty.

Methomyl is highly toxic to humans, livestock, pets and wildlife, according to medical sources such as the U.S. Library of Medicine.

“It … has resulted in the pollution of the environment in a way that has a permanent effect on humans, animals and plants,” the Ankara University report stated.

The indictment seeks jail sentences for each suspect of four months to three years on charges of “damaging property by the means of killing owned dogs” and at least five years in jail on charges of “polluting the environment on purpose.”

The indictment also asks the court to fine the suspects.

Complainants in the case are Özgünlü, the owner of three of the poisoned dogs; Ankara Metropolitan Municipality, the Adana Bar and Istanbul Bar.

The suspects were detained on April 10 in connection with the mass poisoning but later were released by court order, drawing nationwide anger.

The legal status of animals has been a much-debated topic in Turkey.

Amid mounting pressure from the public last year, the Turkish government hastily announced a new ministerial bill for animal rights, which was sent to Parliament in April 2018. Government officials vowed to prioritize the bill ahead of the June 24 elections last year, but one year later, the legislation has yet to be adopted.