For the first time in Italy, an arrest has been made under an August 2004 law against the mistreatment of animals. The arrest was made last week 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.
‘For too long harming animals was not considered a crime,’ animal rights group ENPA observed. ‘This arrest represents an important change in the mentality of Italians. We hope it will set a precedent in Italy. Although a law exists against the mistreatment of animals, it has never been applied with sufficient severity, even when the victims have been subjected to acts of extreme cruelty,’ the ENPA said. 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.’