A man has been arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty after a puppy was discovered with its legs and tail chopped off. The animal was rescued from a forest in the Spanca district of Sakarya, in Turkey. The man hasn't been publicly named, but is understood to be a construction machine operator in the local area and he was picked up by authorities on Saturday for the dog's death. He is said to have abused the tiny dog and then abandoned it with its injuries before a passerby happened to find it and rush it to a vet. The pup was quickly taken in to surgery but passed away some time during treatment.
The case has struck a cord with the country, and has grabbed the political agenda ahead of next week's Turkish elections. Animal rights groups have long campaigned for harsher punishments for animal cruelty, and politicians have been united in condemning the attack and calling for stricter controls. President Tayyip Erdogan told an election rally in Istanbul on Sunday that police had detained a suspect: "Whether at home or on the street, we will take the law into consideration and evaluate it. This operator was arrested today. The authorities in Sapanca ordered his arrest. There is nothing acceptable about this, but it is very important to show this awareness." Erdogan also pledged to amend Turkey's animal rights laws if he won a second term come June 24th.
Images of the puppy spread across social media like wildfire, and the incident quickly became a hot button issue for the candidates, who had been arguing over policies for week in the run up to the election. Opposing presidential candidate and Iyi party leader Meral Aksener also took to Twitter to voice her support for the legal changes, writing: "This brutality against a small being is a painful manifestation of the loss of values in our country. I hope to God that those who hurt a small puppy find what they deserve in the afterlife. If only they would do so in this world with the correct laws as well." An amendment to animal rights legislation has been on the parliament’s agenda for months, but little progress has been made.