Albanian parliament has approved in principle amendments to the Criminal Code to enforce harsher punishments on those who abuse animals.
The changes were proposed by animal protection associations and include strict punishments for those that injure, mistreat, or inflict cruelty on them. Those found guilty of crimes against animals now face between one and two years in prison.
The amendment states:
“Whoever, motivated by evil or without reason kills an animal is punished with imprisonment of six months to two years.
Whoever, without lawful reason, injures an animal or subjects it to actions which bring about its suffering, shall be imprisoned for between four months and one year.
Whoever, motivated by evil or without reason, forces an animal to perform services, work or undertake behaviours that go beyond the relevant standard is punished with imprisonment of one to three months or a fine of 50,000 ALL (EUR 400) to 100,000 ALL (EUR 800).”
Care has been taken by the animal welfare associations involved to include legal provisions that provide a greater level of protection for all animals. The law stipulates that there will be punishments for those that don’t keep animals in sanitary or hygienic conditions and even when they are abandoned.
“Abandonment of escorted animals or those kept in captivity constitutes a criminal offence and is punishable by 10,000 ALL ( EUR 80) to 30,000 ALL (EUR 240).
Carrying out actions that conflict with the welfare of animals or keeping them in inappropriate conditions is punishable by a fine of between 100,000 ALL ( EUR 800) to 200,000 ALL (EUR 1600) and imprisonment of up to six months.”
The law will also come down on those using animals for fighting purposes. Those caught organising or directing fights between animals can face up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of 300,000 ALL (EUR 2400).
Owners that give their pets up for fighting purposes or who keep, raise, or train them can be imprisoned for two years and fined up to 1 million ALL ( EUR 8000).
In terms of killing animals with malice or without reason (such as for food), can be imprisoned for up to two years.
Albania has long had problems with animal cruelty, not limited to appalling conditions of domestic pets kept in urban petshops, the captivity of bears and other wild animals in restaurants and “zoos”, and the systemic poisoning and mistreatment of stray dogs by the authorities. In. 2019, activists reported that the Municipality of Tirana killed around 1000 stray dogs in the city.