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Greece Ups Animal Cruelty Penalties to 10-Year Maximum

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Stray dog in Trikala, Greece. (Photo by Eurokinissi/ Thanassis Kaliaras)

ATHENS – Driven by horrific cases of abuse, Greece's New Democracy government has sent to Parliament legislation that would increase maximum penalties from one to 10 years and fines ranging from 5,000-15,000 euros ($5919.15-$17,757.45.)

That would be applicable in extreme cases cruelty, torture or for killing an animal in the wake of cases that brought fury from animal lovers and the public, including a teacher accused of beating and stabbing a dog, leading crowds to gather outside his house screaming at him.

In another case, on Crete, a 55-year-old man hung his dog from a tree and castrated it with a pair of pliers before passing tourists saw what was happening and stepped in to save the dog's life.

Agriculture Minister Makis Voridis met with prominent animal rights activist Panagiotis Milas, who has been working with local authorities to create a special department within the municipal police force to deal with animal cruelty, said Kathimerini.

The aim of the amendment will be to make it easier for authorities to prosecute animal abusers and for stricter penalties after the former ruling Radical Left SYRIZA moved to lessen penalties for animal abuse before withdrawing it after outcries from society.

The dogs in both incidents underwent surgery and were said to be recovering from their injuries. Under laws designed to protect their privacy, none of the people who abused the animals were named.