Out of cruelty and tragedy comes injustice and a pending hunger strike.
On Saturday the Prodean Bahía de Cádiz, Cora-Animal and The Bright Eyes Society animal welfare groups held a demonstration in the Plaza de San Juan de Dios in Cádiz. It was in support of Simone Rigui and his girlfriend Isabel, who have been sentenced to jail for four and a half years and four years respectively.
Simone is charged with having tried to attack the mayor of Cádiz, Teófila Martínez, and Isabel with hitting councillor Carmen Obregón in 2007 at a demonstration against El Refugio kennels and dog pound in Puerto Real. Its owners were accused of allowing animals to die in agonising circumstances by using a paralysing drug which was cheaper to administer than the normal way of euthanizing them.
The couple had lost their three dogs, which were being temporarily boarded at the kennels. The case against the management of El Refugio is being tried by the courts, but in the meantime the animal welfare groups insist that the prison sentences imposed on Simone and Isabel are unfair and are politically motivated.
The president of Prodean Bahía de Cádiz, Francisco Molina, says the sentences will ruin the lives of two people for an alleged attack which hundreds of other people present at the scene did not see.
Simone, who is Italian, is due to start on Tuesday of this week, a hunger strike in Rome in front of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in protest at his sentence.
Curious isn’t it. Simone was immediately detained and jailed after the supposed attack before being released. He has now been sentenced to jail along with his girlfriend. Yet the case against the El Refugio owners, the real criminals in this case, drags on and on over four years after the events.
There is sometimes a lot to be said for an eye for an eye justice. Perhaps if the owners are eventually found guilty rather than the usual judicial slap on the wrist they can be injected with the same paralysing drug as the unfortunate animals.
(The above photo is of Holly – the only one of the three dogs of Simone and Isabel whose body was found. Vitto and Maggy were never recovered. The autopsy on Holly was crucial in bringing the legal case against the owners of El Refugio. There are more photos and information on the Prodean website: www.prodean.com)