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Kazakhstan Drafts New Animal Protection Law

According to experts, cruelty to animals must be deemed a criminal violation.

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In the last 10.5 years, Kazakhstan registered 417 cases under article 316 of the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan “Cruelty to animals”. Only 31 cases of them were brought to trial.

Zhangeldy Suleimanov. Photo: hommes.kz

According to lawyer Zhangeldy Suleimanov, this statistics is the result of the fact that the components of a crime is not only the animal abuse, mistreatment or torture, but only the harm, severe injury or death. Moreover, there is no clear definition of “severe injury” in the Criminal Code; therefore, criminal cases against animal abusers are not initiated frequently.

“If a sadist is maltreating and it will not result in death or injury, he cannot be brought to liability. In this part the law must be changed by removing such words as injury or death. The law must be formulated in another way – “severe treatment of animals that brought or is going to bring injury,” Suleimanov said.

Besides, according to him, investigators usually are not interested in investigating such cases – as they don’t influence their credentials. 

“It ruined young plants in the hothouse”

On September 6, participants of the volunteer movement Stop Otlov [Stop Trapping] found four raped dogs in the shelter for stray pets, Astana Vetservis, in Nur Sultan. They told about it on Instagram.

“And now here are facts to make sure no one says we devise anything and there is no zoophilia in Kazakhstan. On September 6, 2020, we found four dogs with lacerated wounds of vagina, which were glaringly obvious, when we treated dogs from fleas in the remote cage. One of them had an excessive bleeding,” volunteers wrote.

As it was specified, dogs lived in this pen for a long time, the majority of them for more than two years.

“There were only female dogs there, most of them were sterile. Two of four female dogs were sterilised, we could see the stitches. Two others might be sterilised, but stitches were hardly obvious. At the clinic, they found bugs inside the dog’s vagina, they stopped bleeding and cleaned the wound,” the volunteers wrote.

According to the reports, the remaining three dogs were taken to examination on September 7. During the examination, the head doctor confirmed all four dogs had similar wounds given by a blunt object with bulges all round. The wounds were inflicted at the same period, plus one or two days.

According to zakon.kz with reference to Astana Vetservis, the fact of cruelty to stray dogs is under investigation. There will be expert evaluation of the case. The case was filed with the police department regarding this incident. The guilty persons will be brought to justice.

In early summer this year, the social media posted a video from Atyrau where a man was throttling a dog by blocking its head by a metal door of the refrigerator and jumping up on it. 

The video was taken by the man’s acquaintance. When the dog started to whine and squirm because of the pain, he asked to stop the dog’s torment and said, “Maka, do not make shish kebab.” However, the man did not stop torturing the dog.

The video contains scenes of violence or severe content.


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After the public response, the Police Department of Atyrau region investigated video distribution.

“The case happened on May 31 in the village settlement Yerkinkala, where the man strangled the dog with the door of the refrigerator. The suspect is identified and detained,” the press service of the agency reported.

Margulan Zhumataev was detained under article 316 of the Criminal Code “Cruelty to animals”.  On June 3, the man recorded a video where he tried to explain his behaviour. He said he was cruel to the animal because the dog allegedly almost bit his daughter and ruined young plants in the hothouse. 

“The dog was off leash and ruined the young plants in the hothouse and tore the cellulose film apart. A vet took the dog. I am sorry to all the Kazakhstanis for my behaviour. This won’t happen again,” he said in the video.

On July 1, it was known that the police of Atyrau closed the case as they did not find any elements of crime. This fact outraged lawyer Zhangeldy Suleimanov and he filed a complaint with the General Prosecutor’s office asking to reverse the decision and reopen the case.

On July 24, he received a letter that the criminal case of Margulan Zhumataev was reopened.

As a rule, such crimes are being committed in Kazakhstan with bare hands. In 5.5 years, there were only 19 cases when cruelty to animals was practised by means of weapons, explosives or other equipment. 

Not only by means of money

In this Criminal Code, the maximum term for cruelty to animals is the fine up to 200 minimum calculation indexes, or 555,600 (1,309 dollars) or arrest for up to 50 days.

In 5.5 years, Kazakhstanis received 1,705,000 tenge (3,929 dollars) for damage to animal.

According to zoo animal specialist, Angelina Kotenko, fines do not bother anyone, therefore there should be more strict punishment and criminal liability should be imposed. The following should be deemed as cruelty: from a man kicking a dog on out to kicking it out to the street.

Angelina Kotenko. Photo: informburo.kz

Moreover, according to her, all people breeding pedigree dogs must be under supervision as they also mistreat animals.

“They should have a license for keeping pedigree dogs. If a man breeds animals, his or her animal should be registered and licensed. And his or her pet must give birth only once a year. Then we’ll have the reduced number of pets,” the animal protector said.

Svyatoslav Kovchenko, the head of public association Arman Keme, has the same opinion. According to him, three-day temporary placements should be cancelled, whereas mandatory castration, chip implantation and medical treatment of animals should be legalised. It will have an obvious impact in 10 years.

Photo courtesy of Svyatoslav Kovchenko. Facebook account

“The population of stray animals has diminished apparently. We also need to start working with people, i.e. via TV advertising, on the internet and billboards. We also should hold awareness raising lectures at schools from year 1 to 11 so that children treat animals kindly and train adults to do the same,” Kovchenko said.

New law to take effect

On December 10, 2019, a campaign was launched in Kazakhstan regarding the need to adopt the law on animal protection in Kazakhstan, initiated by the Republican Association for Animal Protection Inucobo. So far, the petition was supported by 67,282 people.

And on September 1 this year the president of Kazakhstan Kassym Zhomart-Tokayev ordered to draft a law on animal protection in his message to the people.

“Treatment of animals is a criterion of civilisation of any state, and we have problems in this area,” Tokayev said.

The new draft law on animal protection was drafted last year. On September 7, the document “On responsible treatment of animals” was drafted and submitted to the government. After the approval, it will be submitted to the lower house of parliament. According to minister of ecology, geology and mineral resources of Kazakhstan Mazgzum Mirzagaliev, the draft law does not exclude  criminal penalty for animal abusers.

One of the drafters is the head of the Animal Law committee of the legal adviser chamber KazBar, Olga Chentsova. She noted that despite the fact that Kazakhstan has over 300 regulations concerning treatment of animals, they do not contain any basic principles of humane and responsible treatment of animals. Legal regulations do not consider animals as live creatures.

Therefore, the new draft law contains such principles of animal treatment as:

  • Humane treatment, which criterion is the animal and human welfare;
  • Treatment of animals as to creatures that have ability to feel everything, including pain and fear;
  • Satisfaction of physiological and behavioural needs of animals;
  • Protection from cruelty;
  • Responsibility of owners for animal’s life and welfare.

However, the new draft law is not perfect. According to experts, the wording “cruelty to animals” is too vague.

“It’s good that we started to talk and discuss it, but the draft law is too poor and it must not be adopted in the way it is now because in practice it will put obstacles to specialists and will not protect animals,” Anna Khamchukova, veterinarian and member of Tabigat ecological union, said (as cited from informburo.kz).

The new law offers to differentiate between concepts of “irresponsible treatment of animals” and “cruelty to animals”, introduce unified rules of trapping across the country, and to differentiate between the terms of “estrays” and “stray animals”, where stray animals should be deemed only those animals whose owners could not be found within two months.

Moreover, Angelina Kotenko, zoo animal specialist, said Kazakhstan needed to ban trapping of stray animals and the function of chip implantation should be delegated to private companies.

“Everything should be delegated to private companies and they should be accountable to the state, then we’ll have order in this area. When the state is responsible, we have the one hand washes the other situation. Trapping violates the rights of animals and also my rights as I have the right to calm and happy life, which is guaranteed by the Constitution. I should not get nervous when dogs are being shot in front of children and people,” Kotenko said.

As to punishment, the new draft law offers to include the article on “irresponsible treatment and cruelty to animals” into the Code of administrative offences and to toughen up the article “Cruelty to animals” in the Criminal Code.

Lawyer Zhangeldy Suleimanov suggested taking the Russian experience as an example, where the new law has been in force for three previous years. This law provides punishment for up to five years in prison. According to him, these measures contribute to the reduction in the number of crimes.

Experts noted that there is no difference for a sadist if it is an animal or a human. Both are subjects whom he or she dominates over and gets satisfaction. Therefore, people who abuse animals are either potential rapists or people who already committed violence.

Main photo: olx.kz

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