Humanity for an animal abuser
An unprecedented act of cruelty to animals, when two youngsters tortured a puppy to death in Rustavi, caused a stir in Georgia.
There have previously been similar cases, but this time there is a lot of publicity largely due to fast-growing and strengthened civic movements in Georgia, including those advocating animal rights.
“Sadism towards animals is commonplace in Georgia, says Irina Liklikadze, the chairperson of Rustavi-based organization “Friends of animals.
Irina learned about the puppy at night, when the only vet clinic in Rustavi had been already closed. She had to take the dog to Tbilisi.
“I took the puppy with me and told the people who gathered there to call the police. But people there apparently did not want the police to be involved in this story.
In Tbilisi, the puppy was taken to Arthur Lagovskiy, a vet, who carried out several operations. The next morning we were told the puppy was unable survive the night.
“I have treated beaten and injured dogs, even those with firearm and stab wounds. Unfortunately, I’ve seen plenty of this kind of thing in my practice. But I have never seen such fanatical cruelty before. The puppy had no rectum and its uterine was ruptured. I’m still shocked.
The dog was probably inflicted the fatal injuries by a wooden stick used to maim the animal.
G.B., a civic society activist from Rustavi, managed to talk to a teenager who is a suspect in this case of animal abuse.
“I went from door to door gathering information and found one of the teenagers involved. I managed to talk only to him because another one of them had left for Armenia. He’d been in Rustavi for summer holiday.’
Criminal proceedings for the case have been commenced under Article 259 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, which discusses cruelty to animals.
“I was interrogated and I gave my testimony, but I don’t want these guys to be punished. I want them to realize what a terrible act they have committed. This certainly requires the involvement of a psychologist.
Maia Tsiramua, a psychologist, says that in addition to psychotherapy, it is also necessary to involve social services. It’s better to handle things without a pre-trial detention, which is prescribed by the law.
“There is a big sense of public order in Georgia nowadays meaning that such children should be strictly punished, states Maia Tsiramua. “Yet, we should also think about their future. Prosecutors, social workers and mediators – these are the people who should think twice before they draw their own conclusions.
Over 22,000 people in Georgia have signed a petition demanding an investigation into this case and to punish the guilty in accordance with the law.
The petition has classified this act as ‘dog rape’ in a well-substantiated manner, referring to the definition of ‘rape’ adopted by Interpol, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Council of Europe.
The investigation is underway. Under the Article 259 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, cruelty to animals that results in their death or mutilation, as well as the torture of animals, should be punished by a fine or penal labor for a period of up to 1 year. Whereas the same act, committed jointly by more than one person, by a group, repeatedly, in the presence of a minor, should be punished by a fine or imprisonment for the period of up to 2 years.
Animal abuse is a serious problem in Georgia. There are cases when animals are kicked out from home by their owners or are kept in inadequate conditions (e.g. in closed garages, with no light coming inside, on a balcony, or under the open sun). In rural areas, many owners do not consider it necessary to feed their animals and they roam around the neighborhood, trying to find some food themselves. Cases of beating, torturing or killing animals are also frequent.
Only activists and representatives of proper organizations try to keep up-to-date statistics. Until now, the law on the protection of animals’ rights has been either ineffective or showed an unprecedented leniency with regard to abusers.
For example, according to the Georgian Society for Protection and Safety of Animals (GSPSA), in 2014, criminal proceedings were carried against three abusers, who also beat a puppy in Rustavi. The prosecutor decided to not give them any detention and insisted on imposing only 100 hours of compulsory community service.
However, this time the Georgian community may not allow the law to be so humane towards a “human being”.