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Dog hunters in Ukraine: No punishment for animal neglect

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

January 18, one of the Kyiv courts ruled on the high-profile case of Ukraine’s main dog hunter Oleksiy Svyatogor
16:42, 21 January 2021

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For several years, the latter has been killing stray dogs or poisoning them with pills for tuberculosis, and then calmly talked about it on social media and on television programs. Now, by a court decision, Svyatogor is free again.

Why it happened, how the legislation protects our smaller brothers from the hands of knackers?

Related: Against fur and circuses: Kyiv demanded to protect animal rights

Who are dog hunters?

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These are people who, on their own initiative, kill stray dogs. Pets often become their victims.

Why are they doing that? Dog hunters themselves justify their "work" by the fact that in this way they cleanse the city of vectors of diseases and parasites (reproach towards municipal services), and also protect themselves and their loved ones from the possibility of being bitten or even killed by dogs.

How do volunteer flayers kill animals? They are shot from pneumatic weapons or poisoned with medications.

To do this, they most often use drugs for tuberculosis: it is safe for humans (in reasonable doses), but deadly for dogs. The poison is "masked" by adding to the pate, minced meat or other delicacies for the animals.

After such a "treat", the animal begins oxygen starvation, coordination of movements is lost, foam comes from the mouth, and after 3-4 hours, a terrible death occurs - in convulsions and convulsions. This is how most of the victims of dog hunter Svyatogor died.

Svyatogor and justice

A lawyer by training and a killer of dogs - at the call of the heart, resident of Kyiv Oleksiy Svyatogor never hid his "hobby." On the contrary, he reported on the results of the so-called mopping-up in different cities of Ukraine both in social networks and in the media.

For example, in an interview with the journalist of Dumskaya Odesa edition a few years ago, the dog hunter, answering the question of how many corpses of dogs he had on his account, said that "not one hundred."

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"Svyatogor does not hide and confirms the poisoning of thousands of dogs, is proud of this activity, gathers followers among hunters, calls on television and social networks to destroy stray dogs," the animal rights activists note.

Judging by the loud statements of the dog hunter, he is not afraid of the Criminal Code, which contains an article on cruelty to animals.

For the first time about Oleksiy Svyatogor and his activities became known about nine years ago. Since that time, several criminal proceedings were opened against him for shooting and poisoning animals, but they all came to naught.

When the dog hunter was detained again in 2018, he was charged under another article - in "making or distributing works promoting the cult of violence and cruelty" (up to 5 years in prison).

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In May of the same year, the court ruled to arrest Svyatogor for two months, but instead, he was in the Lukyanovskiy remand center for no more than two weeks. Then his lawyers filed an appeal, and as a result, the dog hunter was changed to house arrest.

In August of the same year, the prosecutor's office sent the indictment against the dog hunter to the Shevchenko District Court of Kyiv for consideration on the merits, and the final verdict was announced yesterday, January 18. As we have already noted, the court acquitted Svyatogor "in connection with the lack of proof of the presence of criminal offenses in his actions."

The court noted that the lines of the suspect, promoting the cult of violence and cruelty towards stray animals, are "oral." And for this, the article of the charge does not provide for criminal liability.

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As reported by the ASPI news agency, further consideration of the case was postponed until February 11.

Even before the court session, the animal rights activists noted that the Svyatogor case is indicative and the acquittal of the famous dog hunter "will untie the hands of other knackers."

Related: Animal cruelty in Ukraine: Facts, stats, legislation

How dog hunters are punished in Ukraine?

Responsibility for the actions of dog hunters as such is not provided for by special legislation, however, in carrying out their activities, dog killers violate a number of legislative norms.

According to Art. 174 of the Code of Administrative Offenses a penalty in the form of a fine from 60 to 90 USD with confiscation of weapons and ammunition for it is provided for shooting from firearms, cold throwing or pneumatic weapons in settlements and in places not designated for this (shooting takes place in the habitats of dogs, therefore falls under this article).

Art. 89 of the Code provides for liability for cruelty to animals and its propaganda in the form of a fine of up to 160 USD. If the dog hunter is attracted under Part 1 of Art. 299 of the Criminal Code (cruelty to animals, setting them against each other, distribution of materials calling for cruelty), then he faces arrest for up to six months or restriction of freedom for up to three years.

In addition, according to Part 2 of Art. 299 of the Criminal Code, the same actions committed in the presence of a minor or minor are punishable by restraint of liberty for a term of 3 to 5 years or imprisonment for a term of 3 to 5 years. If the actions provided for in parts 1 and 2 of this article are committed with particular cruelty or in the presence of a minor or minor, or against two or more animals, or repeatedly, or by a group of persons, then the dog hunter faces 5 to 8 years in prison.

Artur Humenyuk, a lawyer and chairman of the public organization Zoovarta, notes that the main difficulty in bringing dog hunters to justice is that their criminal actions must be recorded.

In addition, it is necessary to conduct an examination of the corpses of dogs in order to establish the exact cause of death and prove that the animal died in agony, and not instantly.

Related: Finnish scientists work on development of Covid-19 vaccine for animals

“We also often face the situation that, although there is no mass support for dog hunters among citizens, people themselves often turn to them to solve the problem with a large number of dogs that sometimes attack people,” says Humenyuk, noting that these people are definitely will not testify against dog hunters.

Of course, there are cases of bringing flayers to justice in Ukraine. For example, in Vinnytsia, a local resident was sentenced to five years in prison, who threw the cat out of the fifth floor window, after which, going downstairs, took it in his arms and hit the animal with all his might on the asphalt.

In most cases, punishment for cruelty to animals becomes possible only thanks to pressure from animal rights activists and their cooperation with law enforcement officers. However, in the high-profile case of Svyatogor, this, unfortunately, has not yet worked.

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