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2 Sep, 2009 09:31

Cornerstone animal cruelty case begins in Moscow

A Moscow court has begun hearing the case of a man accused of shooting stray dogs over the course of a year.

Animal rights activists have organized a demonstration calling for severe punishment if the man is found guilty.

Dmitry Hudoyarov is formally charged with killing only two dogs, which were peoples’ pets. He is also suspected of killing around 30 more stray dogs, all of them shot with a high-powered air rifle.

Animal cruelty laws in Russia are not as well established as in European countries or the US. Thus, animal rights activists think of this case as a potentially landmark one.

Anastasia Markina from the Alliance of Animal Rights says that this is the first time a person who has killed stray dogs is facing trial in Russia.

“We hope that a sentence which suits us will be issued. This would be about two years of imprisonment because usually people only had to pay fines” she said.

Anastasia also noted that cruelty to animals can be a warning sign for the possibility of graver crimes to be committed by the same felon in the future:

“According to studies conducted by Russia’s national psychiatric institute, around 85% of people who committed grave crimes against humans were previously very cruel to animals.”