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Costa Rica Cat Killer Sentenced to 2 Years in Prison

A Costa Rican court on Monday sentenced a man responsible for killing a cat named Ochi, who was his pet, to two years in prison after throwing it from the sixth floor of a building in 2019, in an event recorded on video.

Judge Tatiana López gave Gabriel Saborío, 31, two years in prison, the maximum sentence allowed by the Animal Welfare Law, in force in the Central American country since 2017. 

However, the judge granted him the benefit of conditional execution of the sentence for five years, so he will not set foot in jail as long as he does not commit a new crime in that time. He was also prohibited from living with animals. 

In November 2019, Saborío threw his pet from almost 30 meters from the sixth level of a condominium in the capital, San José, but it was until August 2020 that a file was opened after the video of the event went viral on social networks. 

The animal suffered multiple fractures, luxation, pulmonary contusions and internal hemorrhages, according to the necropsy. 

After falling, the cat was able to reach a park where it was found and died despite being given aid. The judge reproached the defendant for “the lack of heart” and “the betrayal” he did to his pet. 

“From the point of view of the conviction, we are satisfied because the maximum penalty allowed by law has been achieved and it shows that animal abuse is not allowed in Costa Rica”, declared Gustavo Corella, plaintiff lawyer in the process.  

The sentence, the second criminal sentence for violence against animals in Costa Rica, is added to several similar cases that have been brought before the courts in Latin American countries. In recent years, at least three people have been convicted of killing dogs in Argentina, with suspended prison sentences. 

In Brazil, on October 13, a criminal court in the state of Pará sentenced a military policeman to four years and eight months in prison, and to pay a fine for shooting a dog to death on a public highway. 

While in November 2017, in a similar event, a man was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for killing a cat named Machín in Peru, the first such sentence in the country.

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