Two residents of Alajuela will be the first people to be tried for committing a crime against an animal. On March 15, the Criminal Court of Alajuela brought the case to trial.

Alajuela Court House

The suspects surnamed Espinoza Leslie and Zúñiga Palladino, are accused of killing a dog inside a house in Rincon de Herrera in La Guácima, Alajuela, in September 2017.

The men were the owners of the dog and, apparently, tied it with a leash to a window, but it did not touch the floor. The dog died from strangulation.

The press department of the Judiciary indicated that Juan Carlos Peralta Víquez, president of the Asociación para el Bienestar y Amparo Animal (ABAA), is a complainant in this case processed under file 17-0004378-305-PE.

According to article 279 of the Ley de Bienestar de los Animales (Animal Welfare Law), “A penalty of imprisonment of three months to two years will be imposed, who willfully, directly or through a third party, cause the death of a domestic or domesticated animal”.

For Peralta the fact that the case goes to trial is important, taking into account that currently one of the main shortcomings that exist is that citizens denounce crimes against animals through social networks and not to the Fiscalía (Prosecutor’s Office) or the Organismo de Investigación Judicial (OIJ), as it should be.

Before that, they have opted for training with the aim that people have the necessary tools to go to the judicial authorities.

In the case of organizations, these must be registered before the Judicial Registry to file the complaint, while individuals must not comply with any requirement, they must only provide details as accurate as possible to investigate the case.

Luis Marín Schumacher, regional coordinator of the Preserve Planet organization, stressed that when the law was promoted the objective was to stop the cruelty against animals, but they are aware that there is still a way to go so that the application of the law is optimal.

“We have not detected that the expected results have been achieved,” said Marín.

Marín added that judicial authorities do not have the necessary budget and echoed Peralta, in that people denounce in the social networks but not to the authorities.


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