The Greek parliament on Thursday voted unanimously to make animal abuse a crime with a prison sentence between one to ten years. The law defines abuse as “poisoning, hanging, burning or mutilating animals”.
People who mistreat animals will also have to pay a fine ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 euros. Until now, cruelty to animals had been a less severe offense in the eyes of the law, punishable by only a small fine.
Agriculture Minister Makis Voridis, who introduced the law, said it was “a strong message sent by parliament to society.”
“Society can no longer accept such acts,” he added, referring to two recent cases that shocked Greece and caused the legal change.
Last month, a 55-year-old man in Heraklion on the island of Crete hung and castrated a dog. Photos of the act appeared online and in Greek media, which caused online outrage.
Several days later, a 54-year-old professor in Nikaia near Athens stabbed and beat a dog with a metal bar. The scene was filmed by a passer-by, and the man has to stand trial on Friday.
According to Greek police, there were 2,644 reports of animal abuse between January and June 2020