Press Release
June 6, 2013

Senate bill penalizes persons guilty of animal maltreatment

The Senate today approved on third and final reading a bill which seeks to impose higher penalties on persons found guilty of animal cruelty, maltreatment and neglect.

In his sponsorship speech, Sen. Francis Pangilinan, chairman of the Committee on Agriculture and Food and sponsor of Senate Bill No. 3329, said the proposed legislation also seeks to "make unlawful" the killing of animals other than cattle, pigs, goats, sheep, poultry, rabbits, carabaos, horses, deer and crocodiles with "certain exceptions."

He said several amendments on animal torture and abandonment were introduced to the 14-year-old Animal Welfare Act. The measure was introduced by Pangilinan and Senators Miriam Defensor Santiago, Gregorio Honasan II and Manny Villar.

Under the proposed measure, a new amendment, Section 7 of Republic Act 8485, otherwise known as the Animal Welfare Act, makes it "unlawful for any person who has custody of an animal to abandon the animal."

Proponents of the measure underscored the need to amend the Animal Welfare Act. According to them, the current law imposes a minimal fine of not less than P1,000 and imprisonment of not less than six months but not more than two years on violators of RA 8485.

The proposed legislation, they said, imposes higher penalties on violators. For instance, they said, once it is enacted into law, persons found guilty of cruelty, maltreatment, neglect or killing an animal face imprisonment of one year and six months and one day to two years and/or a fine not exceeding P100,000.

On the other hand, imprisonment for a year and one day to one year and six months and /or a fine not exceeding P50,000, will be imposed on persons found guilty of maltreating, neglecting and severely injuring an animal, causing the animal's loss of natural faulty and made it dependent on humans for survival.

Imprisonment of six months to a year and/or a fine not exceeding P30,000 shall be slapped against guilty persons who subjected any animal to cruelty, maltreatment or neglect but has not caused its death or incapacitated it to survive on its own," the senators said.

"We can say that animal cruelty can be considered a gateway act to cruelty against human beings and that a humane and just society like ours should no longer turn a blind eye to such acts and deem them acceptable. To allow for their acceptability is to indirectly and unwittingly condone impunity," Pangilinan stressed. (OLIVE CAUNAN, PRIB)

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