Guatemala Enacts Extensive Anti-Cruelty Legislation

March began on the right foot in Guatemala after the Guatemalan Congress passed widespread animal welfare legislation; making it one of the most comprehensive anti-cruelty animal laws in the world. The landmark ruling marks the first time the country will not only penalize animal cruelty but also those who executed it.


According to the Humane Society international (HSI), which calls this the latest gain in its “worldwide campaign to promote the adoption of anti-cruelty statutes in every nation in the world”, the ruling provides much more than basic anti-cruelty restrictions.

Protections for wildlife, companion animals and animals used in research and circuses as well as the ban of animal testing for cosmetics, painful culling and dogfighting, including penalties for spectators who witness it, are also incorporated into the sweeping legislation.

animal test

“The law cracks down on perpetrators of animal cruelty by establishing fines, and setting up the government to deal with cruelty cases,” said Cynthia Dent, global field manager for Humane Society International, which was involved with the drafting and submission of the law. “There has been an increase in the number of cruelty cases in Guatemala in recent years, and with this act, we are going to work to reverse this disturbing trend.”

As recent as last week, pieces of poisoned meat thrown onto a street in the municipality of Sololá, San Marcos La Laguna, resulted in the intended death of many street dogs and, unfortunately, the non-intentional victimization of some family pets, according to Guatemalan newspapers.

Dogs Guatemala

The new law also promotes spay and neuter programs and the implementation of responsible pet ownership campaigns designed to help limit the number of dogs wandering the streets of Guatemala. It also now makes it illegal to abandon or leave animals to free roam the streets on their own.

Credit: HSI
Photo Credits: Global Giving,, Animal Aware


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