Russia’s parliament on Tuesday passed legislation that forbids cats, dogs and other pets to be taken away from people as payment for debts.
The new legislation defines an animal as “not an object, but a living being which experiences emotions, including pain”.
Pets were confiscated the same way furniture or real estate is taken when people can’t pay their bills.
Russian politician Vyacheslav Volodin, who supported the legislation, added that the ban “will prevent the tragedies that can take place if officials take away an animal”.
The authorities carrying out the removal of animals often did not have the necessary resources to keep them, adding to the trauma of the seized animal.
Russian animal rights activists welcomed the ban. “A living being must not become a hostage for settling financial questions,” Yury Koretskikh, head of the Animal Defenders Alliance, told AFP.
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