05/21/13 Animal Protection Department

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Ministry of Internal Affairs Republic of Croatia
Ministers cabinet
Mr. Ranko Ostojic, Minister
Ulica grada Vukovara 33
10000 Zagreb

May 21, 2013

Dear Mr. Ostojic,

We would like to request that an animal department be established within the police administration in the Republic of Croatia, in order to develop an organized and effective system of animal protection in Croatia.

Such a department is needed due to a large number of animal abuse cases that we are informed of, and they are in police jurisdiction. Dog fights, shooting guns and handguns, poisoning, throwing from the roof tops, deliberate drowning in rivers and lakes, cutting off paws, burning, starving... are just some examples of animal torture and killing, punishable according to Article 205 of the Criminal Code. In most cases the offenders don't get caught, and even if they do, they don't get punished for their behavior.

Our association alone receives a few reports per day, whilst other associations in Republic of Croatia receive the same number, if not more. Namely, citizens think that Animal Friends, like similar associations abroad, have some power in relation to animal protection. We refer them to the authorized civil services, depending on who has authority on a specific case, whether this is veterinary inspection, environment protection inspection, hunting inspection or the police.

Animal protection associations, that are contacted by citizens seeking advice and help, have no power to enter people's courtyards and apartments, seize animals and similar. The only persons authorized to do such a thing are police officers. Citizens who contacted the police and told us about their experiences always praised the officers for their kindness and speed of reaction, however, police officers are sometimes not educated about the fact that torture and killing of animals is a criminal offence, and that the implementation of the Criminal Code is in the domain of the police.

We are aware of the workload and large responsibility that police officers have and we know that in the whole thing the animals usually come last. However, the point of the police is to protect the weak, and in today’s society animals are the weakest members and they can not protect themselves in any way, which is why their protection is the ethical and legal obligation.

Except for animals, animal abusers also pose a threat to people and the society as a whole. Namely, a large number of studies show that violence towards animals leads to violence towards people, so the timely conviction of such behavior potentially stops future offences and criminal acts. Therefore we believe that a special department for animals within the police is needed not only in the sense of protecting animals, but also in the sense of preventing future violence towards people.

We remain at your disposal for further information and collaboration.

Kind regards,

Luka Oman

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