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PETA urges rabbis to overturn dog's death sentence

June 17, 2011 2:09 A.M. (Updated: June 18, 2011 3:08 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A leading US animal rights organization is urging rabbinical authorities in Jerusalem to overturn a "death sentence" by stoning of a dog alleged to be a reincarnated lawyer.

The sentence stems from the suspicion that the spirit of a secular lawyer, said to have insulted the court's judges decades earlier, has been transferred into the dog's body, Israeli media reported Thursday.

Head of the court Rabbi Avraham Dov Levin reportedly denied calling for the dog's stoning. But one of the court's managers confirmed the sentence, the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called the sentence "absurd."

"By sentencing an innocent animal to a painful death for such an absurd reason, this rabbinical court has not only completely discredited itself but also violated tza'ar ba'alei chayim ("the suffering of living creatures") -- one of the most important principles in Judaism," PETA said in a statement Thursday.

"Rabbi Levin should be given a mandatory psychiatric evaluation, and PETA intends to call for criminal charges against him for inciting cruelty to animals," the statement continued.

An Israeli animal rights group, Let the Animals Live, has also called on the court to overturn the sentence and filed a complaint with police against Rabbi Levin, the Ynet news site reported.

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