The Italian Almanac

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animal mistreatment

Italian News - October 27

For the first time in Italy an arrest has been made under an August 2004 law against the mistreatment of animals, the National Association for the Protection of Animals (Enpa) reported on Wednesday. The arrest was made Tuesday in the province of Cagliari, Sardinia, where police took into custody a man who repeatedly threw a puppy against a wall, inflicting fatal injuries on the animal.

The puppy was rushed to an animal hospital in critical condition but nothing could be done because its back had been broken in several places. According to a police report, the man, said to be an engineer, was angry with a neighbor who owned the dog and committed the abuse in front of witness.

The arrest, the animal rights group observed, "represents an important change in the mentality of Italians. For too long harming animals was not considered a crime". "Anyone who hurts helpless animals is also a threat for other people and should be treated as a socially dangerous individual," Enpa added.

In August 2004 Italy passed a tough law against animal abuse which included hefty fines and jail terms of between three and 18 months for a range of crimes against animals. While dumping, torturing or killing animals had been outlawed in Italy for many years, the new legislation also criminalized keeping animals in conditions that cause unnecessary suffering or forcing them to behave in a way "incompatible with their instincts".