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Lawmakers increase animal cruelty law punishment to six to ten years

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The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Czech parliament, passed an amendment to introduce a stricter punishment for animal maltreatment and the operation of puppy mills, accepting the Senate-proposed changes, today.

The bill is yet to be signed by President Milos Zeman into law.

The new legislation will raise the prison sentence for animal maltreatment from five to six years, while courts will be able to impose up to ten years behind bars for breeding animals in extremely unsuitable conditions threatening their lives.

In the original version, which the Chamber of Deputies approved last autumn, the courts would only be able to ban animal breeding for up to ten years for individuals and up to 20 years for firms in the case of unsuitable breeding conditions.

The lower house refused to tighten the sentence level based on the opinion of lawyers who considered it too high compared to the sentence level for violence against humans.

The Voice of Animals organization has praised the new legislation, saying it would enable judges to impose a prison sentence on the perpetrators of brutal animal maltreatment.

Besides, in the case of the most serious organized crime of this kind, the police will be able to apply wiretapping and it will be easier to get a home search permit issued.

The bill is also aimed at the operators of puppy mills, the facilities where dogs are kept and bred in unsuitable conditions causing them to suffer and that are run only to gain profit from the sale of puppies. The veterinary authority is to check the observance of their ban.

MPs are also dealing with a government amendment on puppy mills that have gone through the first reading in the lower house. It defines puppy mills and bans them. Perpetrators would face up to a 0.5 million-crown fine for their operation.

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