In a now-viral image circulating throughout Turkish social media, two young men pose proudly next to a cowering dog with bloody stumps for ears, each man holding what appears to be a dog ear in his hand.
According to Turkish news, the pair are suspected to be involved in dogfighting, and were reportedly punishing one of their losing dogs.
The Turkish justice system has now let the men off with a fine of just over what is equivalent to $1,000 U.S. dollars. And no jail time.
This lax punishment is not acceptable for inflicting such reprehensible harm on an animal.
These men’s shockingly light sentence is not even close to proportional to the pain and suffering they senselessly inflicted on an innocent animal — let alone the multiple dogs presumably forced to tear each other to shreds in fights staged for human entertainment.
Animals are not toys. They are not property. They have thoughts and feelings, as backed up by research demonstrating that dogs are just as sentient as a human child. What’s more, cruelty to animals is irrefutably linked to cruelty to human beings.
This incident of grossly inhumane treatment highlights the urgent need for the Turkish government to revisit their animal cruelty laws. Please sign this petition now to call on Turkey’s Ambassador to the United States, Serdar Kılıç, to advocate for stronger punishment for animal abuse. Dogs like this deserve justice, and animal torture must be treated like the serious crime that it truly is.