Kati Pulli, CEO of SEY, criticizes insufficient enforcement of ban on animal keeping in Finland. Unfairly differing from similar acts treated as criminal offenses, the violation of this ban has been considered as merely a misdemeanor, making the implementation process slow and sometimes even impossible. With the Finnish Animal Welfare Act currently under revision, SEY suggests to introduce the category of criminal offense for mild violations of the ban with fines up to 6 months of prison.
According to Kati Pulli, ban on keeping animals has been purely a prevention measure to ensure the same person doesn’t cause repeated and continuous suffering of animals. Since there are no efficient implementation measures or ways to control the ban in case of animals kept in a house, even the systematic violation of animal welfare regulations is not always on the authorities’ radar. She added: ‘The fact that the maximum punishment for breaching the ban on keeping animals is just a monetary fine tells us once again that the society is still not sufficiently serious about animal protection.’
The main obstacle to effective implementation lays in authorities’ lack of warranty to enter private property when there is a case of not following the ban on keeping animals. The authorities usually end up discovering it as an unintended consequence when allowed to enter private property on other, non-animal related issues. So far this hasn’t stood sufficient grounds for carrying out the inspection on its own.
To improve the implementation process SEY suggests to lift the punishment from misdemeanor to felony, asking for up to 6 months of imprisonment for this animal regulation breach. In addition, SEY recommends for all animal vendors to request a proof of impunity from every potential buyer which can be found in the existing register on animal keeping bans.
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