The Greek Parliament on Thursday unanimously passed a new law that makes serious animal abuse a crime that can lead to a maximum 10-year prison sentence.
According the new provisions, people who mistreat animals will also have to pay “a fine ranging from 5,000 to 15,000 euros.” The minimum prison term will be one year.
Fines are also being increased for other forms of animal abuse, such as abandoning pets and a range of acts that compromise the well-being of animals.
The law defines abuse as “poisonings, hanging, burning, mutilating animals.”
Agriculture Minister Makis Voridis, who introduced the law, said it was “a strong message sent by Parliament to society.”
“Society can no longer accept such acts,” he added, referring to two recent cases that shocked Greece and precipitated the legal change.
In October, a dog was tortured and mutilated on Crete by its owner. A few days later, a man was arrested for repeatedly stabbing a dog in the street in the suburb of Nikaia, west of Athens.