San José (AFP) - Thousands of animal lovers packed a major San Jose avenue Sunday, many with pups in tow, to celebrate Costa Rica's new animal cruelty law and its fines and jail time for violators.
Bikers, animal rights activists and many animal lovers were on hand dancing to traditional tunes to support the law, signed this month by the Central American nation's President Luis Guillermo Solis.
"We have got to demand that there be no more impunity; that whoever abuses an animal be punished," Solis said, raising cheers from the crowd.
The parade marshal for the day was Duke, a dog that became well known in local media after someone hacked him with a machete and left him for dead.
In another grim case, local teenagers seriously injured a toucan, pummeling its bill with stones.
"We have just seen too many horrific acts against animals. So it's time that we have a law to ensure that they are punished," said Antonio Pacheco, who turned up with his sweater-wearing schnauzer Tony in tow.
Cockfighting and dog fights also have been outlawed, and can earn criminals jail time.