Advancements in Justice for Animals in Colombia

June 12, 2019
A new law has recently come into effect in Colombia that addresses animal abuse. Learn more about these advancements for animals in Colombia below.

Worldwide, there are more and more laws coming into effect that protect animals, both pets in homes and animals in the wild. Some countries are becoming more aware of the need to protect animals from abuse. Did you know that this is the case with Colombia? In this article, you can read about the latest advancements in justice for animals in Colombia.

2016 was a historic year for animals in Colombia

It’s true that in many areas animal abuse continues. However, in 2016 a new law in Colombia classed the abuse of animals as a crime. Basically, the law recognizes that animals aren’t objects, but rather they are sentient beings (capable or able to feel).

An animal shelter volunteer caring for some dogs

A local animal rights defender, Juan Carlos Losada, is the author of Law 1774. The Colombian president signed this law in January 2016. Mr. Losada confirms that 2016 was a year of improvements in animal welfare in Colombia.

The new law helps to increase awareness of issues related to the well-being and protection of all living creatures.

Of course, we’re not saying that this will put an end to all animal abuse issues in Colombia. Rather, we’re analyzing the different advancements that have been achieved over time throughout Colombian territory.

While there’s still a lot to do, the residents of Colombia are gradually adjusting their attitude. They are starting to see animals as living beings that can feel, instead of as objects.

The Colombian government is implementing several initiatives. For example, some politicians are participating in programs for the defense and protection of animal rights (monitored by the National Planning Department).

The Ministry of the Interior has also created a specific office for this purpose. This department will carry out and enforce the new law on animal abuse.

Before and after Law 1774

In December 2015, the full Senate of Colombia approved a law project to modify the 1989 Decree 84, that had previously dealt with animals. They also defined the penal process for breaking that law, and stated how we should view animals.

It’s worth knowing that, before this, people in Colombia animals viewed as “movable goods”. Today, the new law has changed the field completely. It upholds the simple (and fundamental) fact that animals are “sentient beings”.

Law 1774 ensures that animals have rights and that they are taken into consideration. With cases of animal abuse, the punishment will be monetary fines (between 5 and 50 monthly wages). In some cases the person may even receive a prison term (from 12 to 36 months for aggravated cases).

In 2016, the instances of animal abuse in Colombia went down substantially. However, it still hasn’t been completely eradicated. But from now on, the authorities register all animal abuse issues and carry out the corresponding penalties.

Just one month after this law came into effect, the authorities had already arrested 6 people for animal abuse.

Law 1774 is also very useful to educate the citizens of Colombia. Everyone should know that mistreating an animal just isn’t morally unacceptable. It’s also now a crime punishable by law. The authorities must now act to protect beings, not just things. If you reflect on this, the new law is a really radical change.

There’s still a lot to do

Dogs in a small thatched shelter.

Source: Happy Animals Club Facebook page

Of course, there’s still much more work to do with regards to animal rights. Many different areas need to improve. For example, how can the new law be implemented in all areas? What specific authorities should get involved? How does the process work in each case, and what tools can the judges use?

It’s a task that will require the combined efforts of various institutions. It will involve the National Attorney General, the National Police, and the Justice Power (especially judges).

It’s also a challenge for local authorities and councils, as well as for normal citizens. This last group must learn how to recognize and report animal abuse.

This law is educating the Colombian people on what to do if they are confronted by a case of animal abuse. They should report it in person, with as much physical evidence (such as photos) as possible.

Someone in Colombia who has seen animal abuse should go to one of the following departments:

  • The Police Inspectors
  • The local Courts of the National Attorney General that provide attention to the public
  • Or to one of the Immediate Response Units

What can we consider to be animal abuse? If you see an animal that is suffering from hunger, thirst, physical discomfort, pain, diseases from negligence or neglect, fear or excessive stress, you should report it.

Los avances de la justicia colombiana con los animales