05/17/13 Inspection for Animal Protection

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Ministry of Agriculture
Veterinary Directorate
Planinska 2a
10000 Zagreb

May 17, 2013

Dear Sirs,

We are writing to you to suggest that you should establish an inspection for animal protection as a subdivision of the veterinary inspection department at the Veterinary Directorate, Croatian Ministry of Agriculture.

Veterinary inspectors are in charge of a wide range of tasks, which also concern the important field of public health. Even though a number of organizations have established good and useful cooperation with inspectors in their localities, everyone knows that animal abuse is not the primary concern of veterinary inspectors, which is why only one out of ten cases is properly handled. Moreover, dealing with animal abusers is not even included in the Working Plan of the veterinary inspection, not even in the section on facultative activities.

Regarding the fact that Croatia has an Animal Protection Act, yet this act is rarely put to practice when it comes to abused, neglected, and abandoned animals, we believe that a special subdivision should be established - an Inspection for Animal Protection. Fines for violating the Act are quite high, yet they are rarely imposed in Croatia, since the Act is rarely applied in practice. We believe that the income from these fines may be of considerable benefit to the Ministry's budget.

According to the present regulations, veterinary inspectors must be doctors of veterinary medicine, but that is not necessary in the case of inspectors for animal protection. They should be well informed about the Animal Protection Act and the scope of their authority, but we believe that no university degree is necessary to perform these duties, which would lower the costs of the Inspection. It would also make it possible for the doctors of veterinary medicine who are currently veterinary inspectors to devote themselves to the work for which they were trained and in which they are experts.

Our organization alone receives several reports of abuse every day, and the situation is equal, if not worse, for other organizations in Croatia. It is generally believed that Animal Friends Croatia has some authority related to animal protection, like similar organizations abroad. We advise people to turn to the public services in charge, but even if only a half of them report their case of animal abuse/neglect/abandonment to the veterinary inspection, there is still a three-digit number of reports arriving to every one reported incident. Despite all their efforts, the veterinary inspectors are unable to process and pursue all these reports, with all the other tasks on their agendas.

During the past months, we have witnessed many cases in which people have acted on their own accord, even breaking the law, all for the sake of saving an animal from abuse or inadequate conditions. The reason for this was the inactivity of the veterinary inspection. But if an animal is vaccinated and microchipped, this does not necessarily mean that it is not abused. We believe that it is shameful and intolerable that ordinary people, who pay one of the highest tax rates in Europe from their mostly modest income, should do the job of the public services.

Based on this information, we believe that a special inspection for animal protection would make it much easier for the veterinary inspection to do its job. It would also benefit the Ministry's budget in the long run and, what is most important, it would successfully protect the animals and punish their abusers.

Best regards,

Lidija Eterovic
Network Against Animal Abandoning

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