QCOSTARICA – For the first time in Costa Rica, there was a conviction for the death of an animal. The Juzgado Penal de Alajuela (Alajuela Criminal Court) imposed a two years prison sentence to a couple responsible for causing the death of a dog in 2017.
The judge also gave the couple the benefit of a conditional sentence, that is finding of guilt accompanied by a criminal record, but without being sentenced to a period of incarceration. The judge also ordered that they could not have a pet for a period of five years and that if they fail to comply with this condition, they will be spending the two years in prison.
Maricruz Uba, the legal representative of the Asociación Voluntarios de Corazón and plaintiff in the process, pointed out that it is a historical milestone for the country because the maximum sentence contemplated by law was handed down for the death of an animal.
The lawyer mentioned that there was also a civil sentence against the defendants, the amount of which will be defined in the civil process.
The Animal Welfare Law was enacted in 2017 by the Legislative Assembly and punishes mistreatment, cruelty, and the death of animals; among other behaviors.