Suren Aghajanyan and the dog he shot at his restaurant

Restaurant Faces Public Ire, Boycott after Owner Shoots Dog in Public

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YEREVAN (JamNews) — Director of the Dilijan National Park and restaurant owner Suren Aghajanyan is facing a public boycott and a demand for justice after publicly shooting a dog on the premises of his establishment.

Facebook users demand Aghajanyan be punished to the full extent of a recently enacted law criminalising cruelty to animals.

Moreover, the bill’s initiator, MP Naira Zohrabyan, demands Aghajanyan resign as the director of Dilijan National Park.

Eyewitnesses of the brutal killing, which occurred on December 1 at Getap restaurant in Dilijan, immediately reported the incident to the police.

However, law enforcement officers who arrived at the scene erroneously stated that the law on the criminalization of animal cruelty had not yet gone into effect.

Zohrabyan, the sponsor of the bill, was one of the first to respond to the incident, and on her Facebook page commented on the law enforcement officials’ statement:

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“Mr. Acting Police Chief, your subordinates do not know the law … I inform everyone, as the author of this law, that it has already entered into force. I have already officially addressed the acting police chief, [requesting he] “launch an investigation against Surik Aghajanyan on the grounds of part two of Article 258 of the Criminal Code of Armenia, which provides for imprisonment of one to three years.”

Zohrabyan said she was informed by eyewitnesses, that in response to their indignation at the event, the deputy police chief of the city of Dilijan said: “Well, it’s his beast – what’s the matter?” Zohrabyan indignantly wrote: “The whole question is still who the beast really is…”

The animal abuse criminalization act came into effect in fall 2019. The bill was authored by MPs from the Prosperous Armenia party, and seeks fines for cruelty to pets and homeless animals to the amount of 100-300 times the minimum wage, as well as imprisonment for up to 1 year.

The new law also provides for punishment when a crime against animals is premeditated, committed by a group of people and with particular cruelty.

In this case, the bill provides for a fine of 300-500 times the minimum wage or imprisonment for a term of one to three years.

The incident in Getap restaurant in Dilijan has caused a stir; the restaurant’s Facebook page wall has been inundated with photos of the murdered dog and calls for visitors to refrain from frequenting the restaurant.

The police have responded to the incident with an ambiguous press statement: “[It seems] the owner of the restaurant complex on December 1 at 13:15 shot and killed a dog with a TOZ-16 hunting rifle registered in his name … An investigation and verification of this information is being conducted.”

The restaurant has offered its own account of the event, claiming that the dog was suffering from rabies, and was a threat to the safety of the visitors of the complex.

Facebook users have expressed doubt over this explanation and continue to attack the restaurant’s page.

Armenian Facebook users have been actively discussing the incident since the evening of December 1.

 

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