Peru congressman faces 100-day suspension for shooting down neighbor’s pet Schnauzer with unlicensed rifle

It doesn’t look like Congressman Miro Ruiz will get the forgiveness he asked for when he admitted to lying about gunning down his neighbor’s pet Schnauzer with an unlicensed rifle. Congress’ Ethics Commission voted late Wednesday to impose a 100-day suspension, pending a ratification vote by the full legislature.

“There is no way we can condone the savage mistreatment of domestic animals,” said commission member Congressman Carlos Bruce. “Hopefully the plenary will approve the recommendation.”

An initial motion to impose a 60-day suspension was quickly voted down by the commission and the 100-day suspension, proposed by Congressman Mario Alegría from the government’s ruling Aprista Party, approved by a 4-1 vote. The commission resolution found Ruiz guilty of infringing articles 2 and 4 of the Parliamentary Ethics Code to which he swore to abide as his minimum standard of conduct.

Ruiz may also be charged with making a false statement, for adamantly denying that he fired three shots at his neighbor’s 18-month-old pet and falsely accusing the dog’s owners of plotting to destroy his political credibility and career.

Ruiz could also face the loss of his parliamentary seat and face up to 15 years in prison for illegal use and possession of a firearm if fellow lawmakers decide to lift his parliamentary immunity and prosecutors pursue an indictment. The congressman gunned down the dog, Matias, on May 22 for allegedly sneaking into his back yard in the Lima suburb of Chaclacayo and trying to devour one of his ducks

Mounting public pressure and crowds of angry animal rights activists pushed Ruiz to come clean and admit lying at a news conference May 27.

“I am not beyond committing errors,” he told reporters. “But this does not constitute a justification in any way to avoid my responsibility for this very unfortunate act. So I am here to publicly ask for forgiveness.”

But forgiveness wasn’t in the cards.

“The Ethics Commission considered that these facts fit the crime of making a false statement, according to article 348 in the Criminal Code – first for denying his responsibility and then for changing his version of the facts – and for the use of an unlicensed rifle,” the commission determined in its report.

Congressman Cayo Galindo, from Ruiz’s leftist opposition Nationalist Party, said the sanction is excessive: “To lie is a fault,” he argued, “not a crime.”

Other congressmen, Galindo pointed out, like Ricardo Pando, of ex-President Alberto Fujimori’s conservative party, and Aprista Tomas Cenzano, were suspended for 60 days respectively for falsely hiring personnel and using government-owned vehicles for an electoral campaign.

“There is a political undertone to all of this and a desire to corner the Nationalist Party,” he told daily La Republica.

The ethics commission also recommended Ruiz offer moral compensation to the dog’s owner, Wendaly Cárdenas, and that the animal protection law be enforced and regulated.

Sharing is caring!

Comments are closed.