The sentences against the animal abuse shoot up 160% in a lustrum | Society



Animal awareness in Spain is awakening, but there is still much to be done, according to a report on the current situation that the animalist party (PACMA) has presented on Thursday. This organization, which uses data from the Environmental Prosecutor's Office, has reported that the number of convictions related to mistreatment of animals has skyrocketed in the last five years. In 2013, 60 were issued compared to 162 in 2017.

Despite these data, Silvia Barquera, the president of the party, explains that there are insufficient figures in the face of "the incessant trickle down" of complaints that citizens have processed through the application #YoDenuncio, created in 2014 by PACMA and that in 2016 it received More than 1,200 complaints. The data for 2017 and 2018 are incomplete and without statistical significance due to a "stoppage of the system". The problem, explains the organization, is that many of these complaints are filed, which is why they demand more transparency and sensitivity to the Administration, so that cases of abuse are punished.

In 2015, the latest reform of the Criminal Code was made, which "meant important advances in relation to the crimes of mistreatment and abandonment," according to the report. But PACMA hopes that the reform of the Civil Code, that changes the juridical regime of the animals and happens to consider them sentient beings, reinforce the criminal protection of these, because at present, the party considers more effective the administrative route than the criminal one to denounce the mistreatment and to obtain that it is punished. More than 20% of these complaints correspond to crimes of abandonment and irregular possession of animals. "Leaving them locked in a balcony is one of the most repeated," said Laura Duarte, spokesperson for the organization.

In total, about 3,000 complaints have been filed through administrative and criminal channels, the majority have been registered in Andalusia (21%), Catalonia (18%), and Madrid (13%). These are the autonomies where, according to PACMA, there are more registered animals. For infractions, according to data from the Nature Protection Service of the Civil Guard (Seprona) cited in the report, in 2017 there were about 11,300 administrative failures that violated the regulations on pets. And with respect to criminal offenses, the majority, 866 of almost 1,200 were related to mistreatment or abandonment of domestic animals. The armed institute has been invited to the presentation of the report, to which it has not come without giving an explanation, according to the party.

The abandonment is incessant. PACMA denounces that "the only data is published by the Affinity Foundation" and not by public administrations. This indicates that in 2017 more than 138,000 dogs and cats were collected. "The autonomous communities have not answered the questions about the number of animals they have received from the street," says Barquera.

Animalists expect them to occur more exemplary sentences like the one that dictated in 2017 the number 1 Court of Lugo. This court adopted the first restraining order for a dog, which its owners had thrown on a balcony. The judge tried to protect the animal from the violence of those responsible and "has few precedents in cases of animal abuse," according to the report.

"Judges and state security forces and bodies often ignore the norms that protect animal rights," says Duarte. Therefore, the Environmental Prosecutor's Office organized in 2017 the first day "for prosecutors, judges, and policemen from all over Spain aimed at training specifically in the crimes of animal abuse," according to Barquera.

The denunciation platform, which guides citizens to write it and provide evidence such as photos and videos, is only operational through the website (yodenuncio.pacma.es). But the party "is working to develop a mobile application." The result is the document that must be presented to the courts.

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