The same as it happened with the metadata law, the Constitutional Court has once again considered that the criminal rules that punish individuals convicted of slaughter, mistreatment and abandonment of pets are not in accordance with the fundamental law.

As a result, the law that provides for the criminalisation of mistreatment of pets, which according to Público newspaper was declared unconstitutional for the third time on 5 May, may even be abolished.

If the Constitutional Court decides to prohibit this law, we will return to the legal framework of 2014, when the slaughter of an animal or mistreatment wasn’t a crime and was punishable by a fine of up to 3,740 € for individuals, the same newspaper reports.

The law was declared unconstitutional due to the principle that only attacks on values protected by the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic can be punished with imprisonment, namely the right to life, the right to physical and moral integrity, freedom, security, private property and freedom of expression. According to Público, the Constitutional Court judges do not agree on which value is violated when an animal is killed or mistreated.

In this regard, Inês Sousa Real, leader of the PAN (party known for defending animal welfare), in statements to Público, said that people will not understand if the Constitutional Court abolishes the law. Furthermore, she promised to present a proposal for a constitutional amendment to allow these crimes to continue to exist in the Portuguese legal system.