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Putin signs animal cruelty law

The maximum sentence for animal cruelty will be increased to three years in jail

MOSCOW, December 20. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on tougher penalties for cruelty to animals. The document endorsed by the State Duma (lower house of parliament) on December 13 and the Federation Council (upper house of parliament) on December 15 was posted on the legal information website.

The revised version of Section 245 of the Russian Criminal Code ("Cruelty to Animals") sets tougher consequences for "animal cruelty that lead to their deaths or injuries if the act was committed because of delinquent or self-seeking behavior, or through sadistic methods." The maximum punishment will be a prison sentence up to three years.

If an animal is tortured "in the presence of a minor by a group of people in collusion, by an organized group, in a sadistic way," the perpetrator will face three to five years in jail.

Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Ecology and Environmental Protection Vladimir Burmatov earlier said that the revised version of the bill has gotten tough on those killing animals and so-called "doghunters." These measures should serve as a deterrence, he believes, which would stop potential abusers from committing such crimes.