CALLS FOR ENFORCEMENT OF ANIMAL PROTECTION LAWS

Posted on January 15, 2014

The Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA) is urging residents to abide by laws on animal protection and welfare, an activist stated.

I Gusti Ngurah Bagus, BAWA’s manager, made this statement during a workshop on animal protection laws organized by Udayana University’s Faculty of Law last weekend.

“Animal protection and welfare is already covered in Indonesian law,” said Bagus. BAWA has conducted a study identifying eight major articles in the Indonesian Criminal Code (KHUP), which address issues of animal protection and welfare.

“We can also apply other criminal laws and laws on animal health for animal protection and welfare,” added Bagus.

Despite the existence of these laws, very few Indonesian citizens are aware a legal framework exists protecting animals from cruelty and hazardous conditions.

“BAWA receives calls and reports from people who witnessed animal cruelty and violence against animals,” he said.

BAWA will continue to rescue abandoned or tortured animals. “But people have to understand that we have strong legal grounds to do so,” he said.

Animal cruelty, including caging and chaining of dogs, poisoning and killing animals and illegal trade in various live animals occur almost every day in Bali.

“People do not realize that they have broken the law by mistreating animals. Even the relevant agencies, which are supposed to protect the animals, are not aware that we have laws on animal protection, health and welfare,” said Bagus.

“Informing people, the public and government institutions, on the presence of animal protection laws must be intensified. How can we abide by the laws if we do not have any information and awareness on the issues,” he queried.

The KUHP already includes articles that carry legal sanctions against people who are cruel to animals.

“Some penalties are too light. But some articles carry maximum sentences ranging from four to 20 years in prison. The legal architecture is already here. It depends on us on how to translate it into real action,” Bagus added.

The major challenges were to arouse people’s awareness of the laws and having the laws enforced efficiently.

BAWA noted that the KUHP was written by the Dutch colonial administration, which was being judicially reviewed to adjust to the current situation.

“This is our best chance to also review laws on animal protection and welfare, to address worsening animal cruelty and the illegal animal trade,” he said.

jakartaLaws and penalties applied to some common animal welfare offences in Bali

• Animal cruelty, including the beating, clubbing, stabbing, strangling and abandoning of animals can be charged under KUHP articles 302; 406; 335; 170; 540 with a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison. These actions can also be charged under Animal Health Law No. 18/2009, articles 66 and 67.

• Caging and chaining animals, providing insufficient shelter, food or water; mishandling; mistreatment and torture can be charged under KUHP articles 302; 406; 540; 335 with a maximum sentence of two years in prison, and can also be charged under Animal Health Law No 18/2009, articles 66 and 67.

• Killing and or poisoning dogs at the request of the community or government can be charged under KUHP articles 302; 406; 335; 170 with a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison. These actions can also be charged under Animal Health Law No. 18/2009, article 66.

• Stealing dogs for profit or ransomcan be charged under KUHP articles 362; 363; 406; 480; 481; 335; 365 with a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

• Organizing a dog fight can be charged under KUHP articles 241; 302; 406; 170 with a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison. Such offense can also be charged under Animal Health Law No. 18/2009, articles 66 and 67.

• Trading in dog meat can be charged under various articles applied to suppliers, sellers and buyers under KUHP articles 241; 302; 362; 363; 406; 335; 170; 480; 481; 204; 20 with a maximum sentence of life in prison. It can also be charged under Animal Health Law No 18/2009, articles 66 and 67 and Chapter 13 articles 86 and 87.

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The Law Faculty of Bali’s Udayana University conducted a seminar on animal protection on Thursday, January 9, 2014.

Invited to attend were representatives the Bali Animal Welfare Association (BAWA), the Bali Police and academics from the law faculty.

One of the topics discussed was the presence of “RW” or“ErWe” stands across the island selling cooked dog meat. These businesses are blamed for the disappearance of thousands of dogs each year, purchased from dog meat dealers or stolen from unsuspecting pet owners.

I Gusti Bagus from BAWA told the seminar participants, “Every day we receive tens of reports regarding cruelty in the form of torture, poisoning and the theft of dogs.” Bagus told the group that the growing abuse of dogs in Bali could be linked to the many RW stands operating in Bali.

BAWA estimates, based on a field survey, approximately 80 RWstands are in operation in Bali.

Bagus also warned the audience of the growing popularity of Pitbull fights taking place in Bali used to support illegal gambling on the island.

The BAWA spokesperson, quoted in NusaBali, complained the current criminal code against animal cruelty (KUHP 302) was too lenient, punishing violators only with one month’s prison or a fine

of Rp. 4,500 (US$0.36). Bagus said such levels of punishment do not reflect the current conditions in Bali.

A legal expert form BAWA, Simplexius Axa, said cruelty to animals could also be addressed under paragraph 170 subsection 1 regarding damage caused to the personal property of others that carries a stiffer penalty of a maximum 5 years in prison.

He revealed that another section of the criminal code (KUHP 363) pertaining the theft of animals carries a 7-year prison sentence, although the intent of that law was the protection of livestock.

The police said they need complaints and reports from the public in order to take action against those committing cruelty to animals. Sugiran of the Criminal Division of the Bali Police said someone must first file a criminal complaint against an RW stand for police to investigate and make arrests. Police also do not have a legalgrounds to close RW stands in Bali. The only exception to the enforcement and closedown rule is if the subject activity is causing public unrest threatening peace in the community.

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