A legislative commission has come to a compromise text of a bill protecting animals, and the draft gives private organizations the right to enforce the law. The bill also requires animal owners to pick up fecal matter produced by their charges.
The bill is likely to pass. Already it has the support of 30 legislators and also is backed by the administration. The Comisión de Ambiente reported out the revised bill Thursday.
The bill provides fines and in some cases between six and three years of prison for persons who mistreat animals. Specifically excepted from the bill are activities like fishing, fish farming, animal production and veterinarian services. Also excepted are activities against animals for sanitary reasons, such as getting rid of rats.
Lawmakers sidestepped Costa Rican bull baiting and bull riding. The bill continues these public events, such as the tope horse parades, under the control of the ministries of Salud and Agricultura y Gandería.
Some lawmakers had raised concerns that a new law would prohibit castration of farm animals, the use of spurs by horseback riders and other traditional animal control methods.
Animal fights already are illegal, but the new draft clarifies penalties.
Lawmakers were quick to point out that penalties would not be levied on persons who accidentally kill an animal. The text would penalize those who intentionally do harm to an animal.
Those who dump animals to fend for themselves would be subject to fines, as would those who do not pick up after their pets in public places. Fine money would go to the Servicio Nacional de Salud Animal. Owners of animals also are obligated to give them shelter and food.
Some animal rights activist wanted bans on the popular bull baiting events that sometimes become television shows and some rodeo events.
The bill says that recognized organizations can represent the rights of the animal.