‘Pastor’ found guilty of animal cruelty

Emmanuel Tupas - The Philippine Star
�Pastor� found guilty of animal cruelty
Sylvano Capicenio drags his dog in this photo courtesy of the Philippine Animal Welfare Society.

MANILA, Philippines — A man who dragged his pet dog behind his motorcycle in Masbate City has been convicted of animal cruelty.

Sylvano Capicenio, also known as Pastor Bing, was found guilty of violating Republic Act 8485 or the Animal Welfare Act, Municipal Trial Court in Cities Judge Lea Estrada said in a ruling dated March 1, which the Philippine Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) released yesterday.

Capicenio was ordered to pay a fine of P10,000 with subsidiary imprisonment in case of failure to pay the penalty.

In her ruling, Estrada said prosecutors have proven beyond reasonable doubt that Capicenio committed animal cruelty when he dragged his dog along a street in Barangay Centro on June 14, 2019.

The PAWS said Capicenio leashed his dog Brain behind his motorcycle and took him on a ride across towns.

Bystanders said the dog struggled to keep pace, resulting in the animal’s exhaustion and leaving a trail of blood from his injured paws.

One of the witnesses said Capicenio dismissed her concerns when she confronted him, saying the dog is his pet.

When warned about a law against animal cruelty, Capicenio reportedly retorted that he had the dog vaccinated.

Capicenio presented a city veterinarian, who attested to his background as an animal lover.

He claimed he did not notice that the dog fell from his motorcycle.

However, Estrada said it was unlikely that Capicenio did not notice that he was dragging the dog.

“For certain, the dragging would have affected the balance on the motorcycle so the accused would have noticed that something is not normal in his trip,” the ruling read.

“The court cannot just countenance the acts of the accused in existence of express prohibition under the laws,” the court said. “It may just be a single act or a single lapse of judgment, but unquestionably the act negatively impacted the well-being and welfare of Brain.”

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