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IDFI: there are no comprehensive regulations for animal protection in Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, August 9
The research conducted by the non-governmental organization, the Institute for the Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), revealed that to-date there is no comprehensive legal base regulating issues of animal well-being in Georgia.

“Adopting the law on the Welfare of Pet Animals will be a significant step towards increasing the living standards of pet animals in Georgia,” the organization says.

It also says that Georgia is a member of the International Organization for Animal Protection (OIPA); however, the country is not a signatory of the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals.

The NGO noted the new article introduced in the Code of Administrative Offences, which holds parents responsible for the acts of violence against animals committed by minors, needs further justification.

“In addition to parents, the actions of minors are significantly affected by preschool and educational institutions, as well as the society at large. We find that in practice, it will be impossible to prove that misconduct of a minor was causally linked with improper parenting,” the findings read.

The IDFI requested public information from relevant state institutions, and the number of investigations launched on the cases of cruelty against animals has considerably increased in recent years.

However, the NGO noted that considering the number of cases on animal mistreatment registered by the countries with high animal welfare standards, a large number of crimes related to animal abuse still do not reach law enforcement agencies in Georgia.

“Investigations are rarely launched on the administrative offenses of animal mistreatment. Likewise, there is a low number of court cases related to cruelty against animals,” the report reads.

Moreover, in most of the cases, the court imposes fines on the accused, but stricter sentences are used when crimes are cumulative in nature, combining cruelty against animals with crimes against individuals.

“State institutions do not generate full statistical data on the cases of animal mistreatment, which makes it impossible to see the full picture of the problem” the organization stressed.

According to the NGO, fighting against animal torture and ill-treatment is a complex issue and the existence of comprehensive legislation and a responsible entity, which would be specialized in identifying and reacting to the cases of animal mistreatment, is necessary.

“Georgia must announce its political will of establishing high standards of animal protection on the international arena and sign the European Convention for the Protection of Pet Animals,” says IDFI.