Burning of nine puppies highlights the lack of animal rights laws in Turkey

The murder of nine newborn puppies after a shed was lit on fire in Turkey's central Konya province has shed light on the urgency of creating extensive animal rights laws in the country. Currently, crimes against animals are treated as misdemeanors.

Duvar English

Nine puppies died after a shed, which a stray dog had given birth in, was lit on fire in central Turkey's Konya. The event resulted in public outcry about Turkey's lack of animal rights laws.

While nine puppies died in the fire, one puppy and the mother survived, their caregiver Fadim Göbel said. 

"I think the fire was set intentionally since only the shed burned. Who's conscience is this? What kind of human does that?"

Turkey currently lacks adequate animal rights laws, which have left animals' only legal protection under property law, only if they are someone's pet. 

However, Turkey is home to millions of stray animals, whose well-being aren't covered under any legislation, creating a vulnerability that encourages further violence.

The Animal Rights Federation in Turkey (HAYTAP) has been leading efforts to expand the existing animal protection laws passed back in 2004. 

"The punishment for animal abuse under the current legislation is only a misdemeanor, which is the primary reason why the laws haven't discouraged such behavior," HAYTAP said.

The organization aims to further define attacks on animals as crimes instead of misdemeanors, which would allow perpetrators' crimes to be reflected on their criminal record.

Although the current legislation notes that "all animals are born equal and have the right to live," HAYTAP proposes adding the words "and the right to not be tortured or mistreated by humans."

"Animals are not objects or property."