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MOSCOW, April 24. /TASS/. Moscow residents have been keeping strange animals in their apartments lately with an elephant, a giraffe and 300 wild cats being recorded as pets, Chairperson of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee on Environmental Protection Olga Timofeyeva said on Monday.
"There are wild animals being kept in apartments, Moscow residents have a total of 300 wildcats," she said emphasizing the need to continue working on the responsible pet ownership bill before passing it. According to Timofeyeva, Moscow residents keep a large variety of animals as pets, "including an elephant and a giraffe."
The lawmaker also said that a decision should be made on whether to issue a ban on keeping wild animals in apartments or prohibit only certain kinds of animals.
The State Duma may consider the responsible pet ownership bill in the second reading during the spring parliamentary session. The bill defines an animal as a creature capable of feeling emotions and suffering. Based on this definition, the bill defines the way to accommodate and walk animals, besides, a definition of animal abuse is also provided. This definition is expected to help outline penalties for those guilty of animal cruelty. In particular, five new articles are going to be introduced to the Administrative Offences Code, four of which will protect animals.
In addition, the bill stipulates pet registration, the capture of stray animals, their sterilization, vaccination and return to their habitat. There is also a plan to ban the dissemination of animal abuse material and the production of the relevant propaganda. The law will also determine liability for those whose pets pose a danger to the health or property of others.
The responsible pet ownership bill was submitted to the State Duma in the autumn of 2010 by a group of parliament members. In March 2011, the bill was adopted in the first reading.
The lack of such law has been causing huge uproar in Russian society lately. In the autumn of 2016, President Vladimir Putin emphasized the importance of this law handing down instructions to the government to accelerate the work on the issue.