04/08/11 Raising charges against VETAM d.o.o.

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Mr Mirko Poljak, attorney general
Kapucinska 21
31000 OSIJEK

Subject: Raising charges against VETAM d.o.o. Veterinary Station in Osijek, in particular Dejan Todorovic, manager, and two employees

April 8, 2011

On the basis of citizens' reports and media coverage, particularly news published on Tportal and Jutarnji List web sites from March 31, 2011, Animal Friends is raising charges on account of illegal procedures ordered and executed by Dejan Todorovic, manager of Vetam d.o.o. Veterinary station in Osijek, and his employees.

Dejan Todorovic, owner and the person in charge, confirmed in his statement that he had issued an order to kill dogs against all legally prescribed procedures and deadlines, and that he had been doing it on a regular basis, despite the fact that such practice is illegal. It is forbidden to kill a dog or any other abandoned animal at anyone's demand, including that of the animal's guardian. Such acts violate the Animal Protection Act and other legal regulations.

First of all, it should be noted that Vetam has been functioning as an animal shelter regulated by the Ordinance on Conditions to be Met by Animal Shelters and Hygienic Services (Official Gazzette no. 110/04), although it has never been granted that status by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, whereby it has been directly violating Article 56, par. 2 of Animal Protection Act (Official Gazzette no. 135/06), which explicitly forbids involvement in such activities without the certificate issued by the Ministry in charge.

At this point, we must express our suspicion that the aim of such activity, after obtaining a permit from the City of Osijek and signing an illegal contract, was to lay hands on the considerable finances that the city has been taking from the pockets of its citizens. Unusually high, indeed enormous finances – over 6 million kuna – have been granted to the company from the city's budget although the company operates entirely outside of all legal frameworks, since there is no shelter and the procedures are not intended for animal welfare such as prescribed by Animal Protection Act and the Ordinance on Conditions to be Met by Animal Shelters and Hygienic Services (Official Gazzette no. 110/04). Animals are killed in a completely arbitrary manner, while the company is getting rich on account of the local community. The prescribed conditions are not met either formally, in terms of legal regulations, or humanely. The only goal the company seems to pursue is to wash as much money as possible from the city’s budget and to minimize its own costs.

Furthermore, Dejan Todorovic stated for the media that he had indeed issued the abovementioned orders and encouraged (against Article 37, par. 1 of the Penal Code) his employees to perform illegal acts against Article 260, par. 2. His employees are therefore directly responsible for violating the law, since they agreed to perform these acts without offering any resistance, and should likewise be charged according to Article 260, par. 2 of the Penal Code.

Art 37, par. 1 of the Penal Code runs as follows:

(1) Whoever intentionally instigates another to commit a criminal offense shall be punished as if he himself committed it.

Evidence: Photographs attached (9)

As a proof of these allegations, we have attached photographs showing the very act of killing the animals. Our claims can be confirmed by journalists from Tportal and Jutarnji List who interviewed Dejan Todorovic.

We also have all reasons to suspect that Dejan Todorovic still illegally collects animals in the area of Osijek, arbitrarily confining and killing dogs that he should protect without observing the legally prescribed deadline of 60 days, whereby he directly violates Article 260, par. 2 of the Penal Code.

Article 257, par. 1 of the Penal Code runs as follows:

(1) A veterinarian or veterinary assistant who, in rendering veterinary aid or carrying out an examination, inoculation or treatment of an animal, does not adhere to the rules of the veterinary profession, so that consequently sickness, the deterioration of the sickness or the death of the animal occurs, shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment not exceeding one year.

It would be hard to believe that the communal services in charge knew nothing of the company's operation since we have, as a professional animal welfare association, warned them several times of the fact that legal regulations regarding abandoned and lost animals are being ignored.

We therefore demand that you should initiate a legal process against all the abovementioned persons, as well as the company as a legal person, on account of illegal acquisition of property and animal abuse. We also demand that Dejan Todorovic, as the owner of the company and the person in charge, should be fined (Article 98, par. 2, item 6 of the Criminal Procedure Code, Official Gazzette no. 152/08 and no. 76/09) and irreversibly forbidden to perform any work related to animals, as it can be presumed that he will continue to violate Article 257 and 260 of the Penal Code and kill animals in pursue of financial profit.

Article 260, par. 1 and 2 of the Penal Code run as follows:

(1) Whoever severely maltreats an animal or exposes it to unnecessary sufferance or causes it unnecessary pain or exposes it to suffering by giving vent to base instincts shall be punished by a fine of up to one hundred and fifty daily incomes or by imprisonment not exceeding six months.

(2) Whoever commits the criminal offense referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article in a specially protected forest or in a forest which is a constituent part of a specially protected nature area shall be punished by a fine or by imprisonment not exceeding two years.

We also propose that further measures be taken during the legal procedure. All property and finances gained by the company should be confiscated so as to prevent all profit or reduction of loss obtained by violating the law.

We would like to add that, as a civic organization with large membership (over 4000 persons) we place our trust in your esteemed institution and hope that, by taking adequate action and raising charges against the responsible legal and physical persons in the administration of the City of Osijek, as well as the direct perpetrators of the crime shown on the attached photographs, you will ensure that the law is finally enforced. We must put an end to such legal violations in order to make sure that the Republic of Croatia finally proceeds towards the status of the often quoted "state of justice." To this purpose, a warning message must be sent regarding the widespread practice of "gaining profit" by killing innocent animals, on account of the Croatian citizens and by impoverishing the local community.

We are of the opinion that a single legal sentence for animal abuse and killing is far from sufficient (Ostoja Babic was sentenced to five months in prison, which he also served) in order to enforce the law ensuring the protection of animals. Therefore, this case must receive special attention in order to secure an appropriate punishment for the offence and introduce regularity in punishing such legal violations, as is the common practice in the leading countries of the European Union.

Best regards,

Luka Oman



  1. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development
    Veterinary Directorate
    Animal Protection Department
    Ms. Branka Bukovic Sosic, head of the department
    Miramarska 24
    10000 Zagreb
  2. Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development
    Veterinary Inspection Directorate
    Mr. Gordan Jerbic, manager
    Miramarska 24
    10000 Zagreb
  3. Ministry of Justice
    Minister's Cabinet
    Mr. Drazen Bosnjakovic, minister
    Dezmanova 10
    10000 Zagreb
  4. President of the Republic of Croatia
    Mr. Ivo Josipovic, president
    Pantovcak 241
    10000 Zagreb
  5. Förderverein Tierschutzprojekt Kroatien e. v.
    Drosselweg 8, OT Alt Golm
    15 848 Rietz - Neuendorf
  6. City of Osijek
    Mr. Kresimir Bubalo, mayor
    Kuhaceva 9
    31000 Osijek

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