A Filipino man with an alleged history of maltreating animals has been convicted of animal abuse in the Philippines more than 10 years after committing the offences.
On February 11, Andres Vocal, a resident of Binangonan in Rizal province, was found guilty of violating Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act by maltreating a goat. Vocal was ordered to pay a fine of 4,000 pesos, and if he is unable to do so, he will be sent to prison instead, ABS-CBN News reported.
According to court records, the incident happened on October 19, 2008. Vocal was accused by his neighbor Modesta Leoncio of violently kicking and punching a goat. Leoncio said she asked Vocal to stop but he ignored her and began hitting another goat that was pregnant.
At the time, Leoncio filed a case at a local court. However, it was only last year, when her case was brought to the Municipal Trial Court, that she contacted the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) for help.
The case against Vocal was archived on June 30, 2010 but revived with the help of PAWS. Vocal was arrested on January 17 last year based on a warrant issued by the court.
PAWS Executive Director Anna Cabrera said animal cruelty in the Philippines has consequences and can lead to fines up to 100,000 pesos. Cabrera welcomed the court’s decision, saying the conviction would spread awareness and consciousness that animal cruelty was wrong, as well as illegal.
“It drove home the point. This man had to attend hearings for a long time. It cost him some effort. He finally realized that animal cruelty is a serious offense,” Cabrera said.
According to PAWS, they only see one or two convictions a year despite many reports of animal cruelty being logged.