04/23/12 Criminal Charges against Vetam Veterinary Station in Osijek and Beli Manastir Veterinary Station

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Kapucinska 21
31000 Osijek

Subject: Criminal charges against Vetam Veterinary Station in Osijek and Beli Manastir Veterinary Station

April 23, 2012

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are kindly asking you to look into the legitimacy of work of Vetam veterinary station in Osijek and Beli Manastir veterinary station as well as into the legitimacy of treating the dogs in dog pound/shelter in Beli Manastir veterinary station.

Dog pound, officially called the shelter, is a part of Beli Manastir veterinary station, and dogs are also placed there by Vetam veterinary station as concessionnaire for collecting stray dogs for the area of the City of Osijek. Last year, Vetam veterinary station was convicted of a misdemeanor and punished due to illegitimate puttong to death of dogs. Also, in dog pound in Beli Manastir a horrible conditions were discovered where dogs are held in dirty, airless rooms in inadequate and unhygienical conditions, and this situation got extensive media coverage as well.

In the newspaper articles, published on the internet portals jutarnji.hr, danas.net.hr, index.hr and tportal.hr on April 4 and 6, 2012, there are testimonies of a volunteer lady that had recently visited the dog pound in Beli Manastir and recorded and took photos of the dog pound itself as well the dogs in it. The photos and the filmed material were also published on the Internet portals.

In the articles mentioned, the volunteer lady said that there is a horrible smell in the rooms; the dogs outside the boxes are placed in the metal boxes and lie on the tiles in their own faeces; they are all wet because the water used for cleaning the floor does not run out; some dogs show letargic behavior, sit in the corner and shake, not trying to draw attention; puppies in front of the box are placed with the adult dogs in the bottomless metal boxes, they are not isolated in any way, they climb into the bowls to get away from the cold tiles and the water. Also, volunteer lady describes dogs without any hair on the neck, one dog that is extremely skiny, one dog with conjunctivitis and four scared puppies squeezed to one another.

For the dog named Oliver who was taken by the volunteer lady because of an information from another volunteer lady that he is in an extremely bad condition, it is stated that he laid with lethargy in a metal box on cold wet tiles and he was not announced on the Beli Manastir veterinary station's web pages. The records show he was caught on March 8, 2012 in Sumarica, however even after more than three weeks of being in dog pound, and till the arrival of volunteers, he was not examined by a veterinarian. That he had not eaten nor drunk for days it was confirmed at the examination by a veterinarian, and he was diagnosed with the decrease in erythrocyte and overall immunity due to severe malnutrition and dehydration, along with severe eye infection, fungi all over the skin and losing hair. A veterinarian in Beli Manastir had to charge the volunteers the expenses of infusion and antibiotics, because the dog was not taken for treatment by the employees of Beli Manastir veterinary station, that is Vetam, who were obliged to do that and who are paid almost 10,000 kuna by the City of Osijek, according to indications in the media.

In the stated articles, the volunteer says that on Beli Manastir veterinary station's web pages there are old and not up-to-date photos of only couple of dogs that are in the dog pound, while other are not announced for finding a home. Based on Oliver's files it can be concluded that three weeks after being caught and placed in the dog pound, the photos and the information on dogs are not announced on Beli Manastir veterinary station's web pages, the dogs are neither treated, vaccinated, chipped, bathed nor cleaned from the buhe

The witnesses Ivana Grnja and Mirta Salopek-Kotromanovic, in the written statement, attached herein, describe the state found in the shelter in Beli Manastir when they came to pick up a sick dog on April 2, 2012, who was afterwards named Oliver. They state that they came to the shelter to check the validity of information on a dog who was in a bad condition. During telephone conversation with the shelter personnel, they were told that the dog that fits that descripition is in the shelter, but that he is not sick. However, the technician who brought the witnesses to the dog informed them that the dog was not drinking, eating, that he was sick and was caught in that condition. When they decided to take over the dog, he referred them to the examination to the veterinary station, where the veterinarian told them that the dog was caught on March 8, 2012, i.e. he was in the shelter almost one month till they came. The veterinarian emphasized several times that dog was in a very bad condition, that he was neither vaccinated nor chipped, and when the witnesses asked her whether the dog should have been examined earlier, she said that he obviously should have been. The veterinarian offered to start immediately with the intravenous antibiotics therapy, which she had to charge, because she can not offer free of charge therapy, because her director does not allow to incur that expense. The witnesses took over the dog, in order to treat him in Osijek, where they live and where the dog will be placed temporarily. They left the shelter without any documentation on the dog, his condition, the condition he was taken over in, the information on earlier examinations, treatment, therapy and diagnosis, which should serve as a starting point for a therapy. The dog was taken over without baing previously vaccinated and chipped, with the explanation that he can not be vaccinated or chipped due to his bad condition and that should be done later, should the dog get better.

Therefore, it can be justly assumed that Vetam's employees, i.e. Beli Manastir veterinary station's, waited for the expiry of 60 dana to put dogs to death, so they do not spend the money allocated for treatment, care and effort to announce them for the purpose of finding them a permanent home. This is substantiated by the information that in Vetam's shelter in Beli Manastir there were 191 dogs, out of who 104 were put to death and 87 were fround home. Most of these adoptions are the result of volunteers' effort of the associations in the area of Osijek or the animals were temporarily placed with the volunteers, who later found permanent homes for the them. As the town of Osijek signed the contract with Vetam on shelter for animals, the shelter in Beli manastir with the capacity of 30 dogs, where Vetam places the abandoned dogs, can in no way satisfy Osijek's needs. On the other hand, the town of Osijek has a real shelter for dogs on their own land, registered at the Ministry of Agriculture, run on a non-profit basis, with unsubstantial financial means actively and transparently finds homes dogs, and does not kill them.

We have also learnt that Vetam claims that there is always place in the shelter in Beli Manastir. In accordance with the Animal Protection Act, "Any animal placed in an animal shelter, which has not been returned to its owner and cannot be kept any longer or placed in a foster home, may be humanely killed after 60 days" (Article 57, paragraph 4). Should there always be vacancies for the new dogs in the shelter in Beli Manastir, then Vetam illegitimately kills dogs after the expiration of 60 days, because there is place for them, and it can, thanks to the substantial financial support from the town of Osijek, keep them and keep looking for their permanent home.

In the text published on web portal tportal.hr on April 6, 2012 it is claimed: "According to the latest Vetam's report for 2011, the City of Osijek bore the cost of 46,000 kuna (gross) for monthly salaries of two employees. The total annual expenses for their salaries are 465,920 kuna. Vetam charged 1,037 million kuna for catching and providing for the dogs, and 235,000 kuna for collecting carcasses on the roads. Here are deadly calculations – as 191 dogs were caught last year, the City of Osijek paid over 5,000 kuna per dog; when the salaries of the two employees are added, the amount rise to almost 8,000 kuna."

However, despite substantial financial means for dog care, the shelter in Beli Manastir - except being remote from Osijek and unpractical for citizens to come who are willing to place dogs – on their web pages on which the dogs for permanent placement should be announced, keeps photos of the same dogs for months, with none of the photos containing the basic information such as the date they were caught, gender and dog's estimated age. Citizens are not allowed to take photos of the dogs in order to advertise their permanent placement, which represents a breach of law that oblige shelters to advertise animals, in order to enable their permanent placement. Also, we have the informarion that during their stay in the shelter, the dogs are neither vaccinated nor chipped, but only and possibly when they leave the shelter.

Based on everything stated above, we find that Vetam veterinary station and Beli Manastir veterinary station have committed a criminal act of animal torture pursuant to the Article 260, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Criminal Law. The stated veterinary stations willingly and consciously neglect the health and lives of the dogs, expose them to unnecessary tortures and suffering nad all that for making a hefty profit.

We kindly ask you to, together with filing criminal charges for the stated criminal acts, charge, given that there is a legal basis with regard to everything stated above, with a misdemeanor with the competent offence court against offenders of these criminal acts and misdemeanors.

Also, we kindly ask you to inform us in a written manner on the taken measures, on which we will inform the public via media.


Luka Oman

Attached herewith:

To the note of:

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