MOSCOW, November 22. /TASS/. The Russian State Duma in the first reading adopted amendments to the Criminal Code on Wednesday increasing maximum prison term for animal abuse to five years.
Under the new law, any act of cruelty, which led to the animal’s death or injury, can be punishable with a three-year prison term if this act was committed as a result of delinquent behavior, or self-seeking motives. The current punishment for this crime is just six months in jail.
If animals are tortured "in the presence of minors or by a group of offenders", courts will be able to impose prison sentences of three to five years instead of the current two-year sentences.
The amendments were proposed by a group of State Duma deputies led by Vladimir Burmatov, the head of the lower house’s committee for environment and wildlife protection.
"The acts of animal cruelty often become a first step towards graver crimes and violence against people," Burmatov said.
He said his committee had every day received hundreds of letters from animal rights activists demanding the adoption of these amendments.
"Only six people got real prison terms for animal cruelty in the past three years," the lawmaker said, adding that Russian courts were hearing no more than 100 criminal animal abuse cases per year.