Lawmaker Submits Bill Targeting 'Dog Hunters'

Just Russia lawmaker Oleg Mikheyev has introduced to the State Duma a bill that would impose steep fines and prison sentences on those convicted of cruelty to animals.

Mikheyev's proposal is intended as a means of clamping down on the hobby of "dog hunting," which made headlines in September when up to 70 dogs died in suspicious circumstances in a Moscow park.

The dog killings provoked a public outcry, and hundreds took to Moscow's New Pushkin Square to express their outrage in the weeks following the incident.

If the Duma backs Mikheyev's bill, those found guilty of killing or intentionally injuring an animal would have to pay fines ranging from 150,000 rubles to 400,000 rubles ($4,800 to $12,800).

For less serious offenses, wrongdoers would have to perform up to 300 hours of community service, RBC reported.

The bill also provides for a maximum prison sentence of two years. Group offenders may be subjected to a fine of 300,000 rubles to 500,000 rubles, up to 480 hours of community service and prison sentences stretching to three years.

Those convicted of cruelty to animals could also be sent for psychiatric evaluation and mandatory treatment, according to a preliminary draft of the legislation.

Mikheyev has also proposed including websites used by dog hunters in a list of banned online content compiled by the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service.

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