Suspect denies charges over killing of puppy in Sapanca
The operator of a grader has denied charges for the horrible killing of a puppy that caused outrage in Turkey, while a leading lawyer condemned the arrest as a “lynch.”
The puppy was found on June 13 by passersby in a wooded area in the Sapanca district of the western province of Sakarya, fighting for its life as four of its feet had been cut off.
Locals hospitalized the dog, which succumbed to its injuries two days later, despite an emergency operation in Istanbul.
Amid public outcry, local officials announced that the culprit, the operator of a grader who worked in the area, had been found and was arrested by a court order on June 17 on charges of killing the dog.
The operator, identified as 39-year-old İlhan M., denied responsibility over the incident in his testimony, daily Hürriyet reported on June 21.
“I was filling potholes and cleaning grass on the street. I saw three or four dogs, but I did not hurt them. I am not guilty,” he reportedly told the police.
Handan Durdu, the operator’s attorney, claimed it was “against the natural flow of life” that a heavy duty vehicle could chop off all four feet and tail of a small dog.
“We believe some other people cruelly cut off the puppy’s feet,” she said.
In the decision for the arrest, the court in Sapanca had cited the medical report from Dr. Onur Çakmak, the veterinarian who had examined the puppy.
His report stated the puppy’s feet and tail had been cut off from being crushed by the machine.
Suspicions rose on social media, as some lawyers questioned both the medical report and the ensuing arrest.
“It is called ‘lynching’ when you arrest someone to quell public outrage without certainty of whether he is guilty,” Sakarya Bar Association chair Zafer Kazan said.
He also claimed the authorities—in order to justify the arrest—had classified the stray dog as a “dog with owners,” by citing two citizens had been feeding it on the street.
The Turkish law does not stipulate jail terms for crimes against stray animals, but harming a dog with an owner could result in jail over charges of “damaging property.”
Parliament has currently come up with a new ministerial bill that includes more severe punishments in cases of violence against stray animals.
After the killing of the puppy, the government had announced that the bill would be prioritized following the June 24 elections.