• This directive establishes a methodological plan that will allow, in each case, to carry out an analysis in context determining the relationship with the aggressor, among other aspects.
  • Between 2020 and 2021, the Office of the Attorney General conducted 112 accusations and obtained 61 convictions for the crime of animal abuse throughout the country.

As a precedent to combat crimes that affect animals in the country, the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa Delgado, signed the first national directive that establishes the guidelines for the investigation and prosecution of these facts under the principle of dignity.

“In 30 years, this is the first directive in the institution about this aspect. For the first time we establish some parameters that are transcendental for the country and within the framework of a systematic interpretation that we make of our political charter, it is said that animals have dignity (…) there is dignity in animals and about that, I want to tell you that I am very proud of establishing that this dignity becomes a reality with the recognition of prerogatives and rights that are enforceable by law through legal channels” stated the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa.

This roadmap includes aspects such as the constitutional principles that substantiate the protection of animals, general guidelines for the investigation of animal abuse, recommendations on the legal analysis and criminal prosecution of crimes against animals, other criminal offenses in which they can be affected, and the administrative system for the prevention and punishment of animal abuse.

These grounds recall the importance of recognizing animals as beings that have feelings and special constitutional protection, that is, that they should not suffer abuse or cruelty by people. In addition, they point out that animal dignity is protected by criminal law, in which any behavior that causes suffering to animals is punished.

In addition, there is a methodological plan with an animalistic perspective, in which each case will be analyzed in context, determining the relationship with the aggressor, the impact that it caused on the quality of life of the animal and the commission of other crimes.

“This is wonderful because criminal investigations generally have a human perspective, this is the way investigations are carried out, this is the way the rules of the of Criminal Procedure Code have been made (…) but in this case, we are telling 5,000 prosecutors and 24,000 public servants belonging to this institution that if they are in charge of an investigation where there is animal abuse, they must comply with certain parameters”, informed the Attorney General, Francisco Barbosa.

Likewise, it includes actions concerning wild animals which are also victims of crimes such as wildlife trafficking and are seriously physically and emotionally affected when they are removed from their natural habitat.

Such guidelines also include important investigative actions, such as those crimes different from animal abuse, including the illegal use of natural resources, wildlife trafficking, illegal hunting, illegal fishing, and illegal tests with species, biological or biochemical agents.

“Currently,  35 prosecutors, 30 investigators from the CTI, 40 investigators from Sijin, a coordinating prosecutor, and 3 investigators belonging to the main office, two of them veterinarians, have been appointed. This has no comparison in the history of this institution and in the history of any Prosecutor’s Office in Latin America (…) this is simply the initial step and I hope at the end of my constitutional period to deliver a Prosecutor’s Office that is tripling the efforts”, said the Attorney General.

How is the crime of animal abuse investigated?

With the new guideline, this process will be carried out under a protection approach.

In this sense, when a case is known and judicial police activities are carried out, (know as ‘actos urgentes’) the veterinary assistance of the victim will be prioritized and will be in charge of the local authorities where the event takes place.

It is important to remember that, in the crime of animal abuse, those cases of negligence or omission by their custodian or possessors responsible for their protection, where animals’ lives and physical integrity are affected, will be also investigated.

Currently, 3.7 daily denunciations of animal abuse are lodged before the institution. Hence the importance of effective actions to punish people who attack animals.

Between 2020 and 2021, the Prosecutor’s Office, through the Special Group for the Fight Against Animal Abuse (Grupo Especial para la Lucha Contra el Maltrato Animal Gelma) achieved 112 accusations and 61 convictions for this crime throughout the country. Likewise, 103 hearings to bring charges were requested and will be held soon.

How to know if there is a crime of animal abuse?

The main aspect that must be taken into account to establish whether a crime of animal abuse was committed, is to determine through legal and technical criteria, whether their life, health, physical and emotional integrity were affected.

Behaviors such as hitting, attacking with a firearm or knife, causing burns, poisoning, mutilations, causing death, among other actions that seriously harm the animal, are taken into account. This applies not only to domestic animals but to wild and exotic ones.

If you know of any case, report it by calling cell phone: line 122, free national line: 018000 91 97 48 and Bogotá 5702000 (option 7).

“Our animals are part of the minorities that as beings, as companions of life, as companions of existence, we must protect, love and tell them that we are going to protect them not only from others but also we will respect them more”, concluded the Attorney General”

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