Turkish court releases man who tortured puppy to death, mandates him to work at animal shelter

A Turkish court has released a man after he tortured a two-month-old puppy to death in the northwestern Kırklareli province. The court imposed the condition that the assailant works at the municipality’s animal shelter twice a week for at least one hour, under the supervision of shelter employees.

Ardıl Batmaz / Gazete Duvar

A Turkish court has released a man who has tortured a puppy to death, on the condition that he “takes care of” animals twice a week at an animal shelter.

On March 27, the man named Fatih Bücekler killed a two-month-old puppy after torturing him/her for minutes. The incident happened in the northwestern province of Kırklaerli.

The owner of the dog named Köpük (means “foam” in Turkish) said that he had found the dead body of his dog when he went to work on March 27 morning. Tufan Süngü said that he watched the camera footage at the office building, which is how the assailant was identified.

Süngü later filed a criminal complaint against the assailant Bücekler, leading the Kırklareli Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office to launch an investigation. 

In his testimony, Bücekler admitted to the charges but argued that he had “psychological problems” and “will seek medical help.” “I demand that I am released pending trial without arrest,” he said.

The Kırklareli Criminal Court of Peace ruled in favor of the assailant and released him under judicial control, despite the prosecutor’s demand that he be jailed. The court also imposed the condition that the assailant “takes care of animals” at the Kırklareli Municipality Center Animal Shelter on Mondays and Thursdays for at least one hour, under the supervision of shelter employees.

Lawyer Hacer Gizem Karataş from the Animal Rights Monitoring Committee commented on the court’s decision, saying that it shows how the animal rights bill approved in 2021 falls short of curbing atrocities. “We have once again seen that we have been right in our warnings with regards to the continuation of impunity due to the deferment of jail terms under three years,” she said.

Turkey's parliament in 2021 passed a law that defines animal beings as "living beings" and makes animal abuse a crime punishable between six months and four years in prison. However, activists at the time warned that the law's scope was insufficient, pointing out that sentences less than two years are usually deferred, meaning the perpetrators will avoid jail time despite committing horrendous acts.  

(English version by Didem Atakan)