Russian President Vladimir Putin Toughens Punishment for Animal Abuse

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a bill to toughen punishment for cruelty to animals up to 5 years in prison into law, according to the document published on the official website of legal information.

The law fixes penalty of up to 3 years in prison for animal abuse. If the crime is committed in presence of a child, by a group of people in collusion, or with display in media including the Internet, it would be punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

The document also stipulates alternative penalty such as fines, community service and supervised release, which would provide individualization of punishment depending on crimes’ nature and level of public danger, identity of a criminal, mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

The initiative was triggered by numerous petitions lodged by citizens, social and animal rights organizations, and repeated violent incidents with regard to animals, one of the bill’s authors, Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Ecology and Environment Protection Vladimir Burmatov said earlier. Burmatov considered toughened punishment for cruelty to animals as a preventive measure.