Assaults such as those suffered by Grecia the toucan and Duke the dog, have caused outrage in the population and fueled the discussion on the need for further sanctions on those who cause malicious harm to animals, an issue that was promised during the last election campaign and that is still unfulfilled.
In March, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal (TSE) approved a signature collecting for a referendum that will determine whether to submit to consultation the initiative to punish animal abuse with jail time, since it’s bogged down in the Legislature.
The deadline for collecting these signatures is 9 months and 220 thousand signatures are required. The referendum will cost ¢ 2.700 million.
Animal advocates say that although this was a promise during the campaign of the current government, few initiatives have been implemented.
Last October, President Luis Guillermo Solís appointed the former deputy minister of Youth, Elena Quesada as the National Coordinator of Animal Welfare issues within the Ministry of the Presidency. She said they are working in 4 areas: the sanctions, health care for animals in emergency situation, education from schools and sterilization of stray animals.
Quesada believes that the call for a referendum is a civil society right, but insisted on the Government’s commitment to the bill, which has already received motions from the Libertarian Movement and the Social Christian Unity .