A LEGAL transformation is required in order to accommodate changing cultural attitudes towards animal cruelty and those who commit it.
That is the conclusion drawn by the Malaga Humane Society for Plants and Animals, who lamented the fact that so many instances of abuse are not deemed worthy of criminal investigation by the police.
There were 16 investigations into accusations of abuse last year, a miniscule number that the society believes bears no correlation with the far more brutal facts on the ground.
Even if a case is investigated it is typically done under an administrative umbrella and carries no more punishment that a minor fine.
President of the group, Carmen Manzano, is adamant that animals should no longer be treated as slaves, but rather sentient beings with inalienable rights.
Until that day comes, however, she simply wants the laws in place to protect animals to actually pack a punch.
At present, offenders may receive a six month sentence for a variety of crimes, ranging from outright violence to abandoning animals in parked cars. In practice, such sentences are always suspended, leaving malicious owners free from any consequences to their actions.
She also demands the establishment of a police unit exclusively dedicated to animal cruelty cases, noting that Seprona, while doing a fine job, is also responsible for investigating crimes against the environment.