The Court of Appeal of Porto (TRP) acquitted a man convicted by the Court of Ovar of putting a bag with six kittens in the garbage container, considering the norm that criminalizes the mistreatment of animals to be unconstitutional. The TRP judgment, dated March 8 and consulted today by Lusa, granted the defendant’s appeal and revoked the contested decision, absolving him of the crime of mistreatment for which he was convicted in the first instance.
The case dates back to November 1, 2021, when the defendant found six newborn kittens in the backyard of his residence, in Ovar, in the district of Aveiro. According to the facts given as proven, the defendant removed the pups from the place, placed them inside a plastic bag and deposited them in the existing garbage container in the vicinity of his residence.
In November 2022, the Court of Ovar sentenced the defendant for the crime of mistreatment of a pet animal to the penalty of 100 days fine, at the daily rate of five euros, totaling 500 euros, having been acquitted of five crimes of mistreatment of companion animals.
Dissatisfied with the decision, the defendant appealed to the Porto Relation Court, which refused to apply the norm contained in article 387 n.º 3 of the Penal Code, which punishes with a fine or imprisonment anyone who, without legitimate reason, physical abuse of a companion animal, as it is unconstitutional. “As the dignity and welfare of animals is not enshrined in the constitutional text as a protected interest, we must conclude that the criminal precept for which the defendant was convicted is unconstitutional and as such cannot be applied by the Courts”, refers to the judgment of the TRP .
Mistreatment of companion animals has been a crime since 2014 and several people have already been convicted in the first instance. However, the Constitutional Court (TC) annulled these convictions on the grounds that they lack constitutional coverage.
Recently, the Public Ministry with the TC asked for the declaration of unconstitutionality, with general mandatory force, of the norm that criminalizes the mistreatment of animals. The request for unconstitutionality arises after three decisions by the TC in this regard.