07/15/13 Implementation of Animal Protection Legislation

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Croatian Ministry of Justice
c/o Mr. Orsat Miljenic, Minister of Justice
Ulica grada Vukovara 49
10000 Zagreb

July 15, 2013

Dear Mr. Miljenic,

In reference to our oral agreement at the meeting, we are writing to inform you about the problems related to animal protection in Croatia, and in order to ask for your help in implementing the relevant legal regulations.

As you know, Croatia has a number of laws and other types of legal regulations about animal protection. The basic and most comprehensive of these is the Animal Protection Act. Abuse of animals is also punishable by the Penal Law and the Law on Public Peace and Order, while the protection of wild animals and protected species is regulated by the Nature Protection Act.

For years, our organization has been encountering a large number of reports on behalf of neglected, tortured, abused, abandoned, and killed animals that are, in fact, legally protected, yet the perpetrators of these punishable acts, despite the fact that they should have been sentenced for their deeds, were rarely put to court. For this reason, we have sent a proposal to the ministries in charge about the establishment of an Inspection for Animal Protection as a subdivision of the Veterinary Inspection at the Veterinary Directorate, Croatian Ministry of Agriculture, in order to achieve an organized and efficient system of animal protection in Croatia.

Together with other associations of similar profile in Croatia, we are doing everything we can to encourage the public to report cases of abandoned, neglected, or abused animals to the public institutions in charge, and we inform them of the ways they can do that. Owing to that, the number of reports has increased, but that has not been the case with the number of cases where the perpetrators have been punished. The reason why the laws are not implemented is largely the unwillingness of individual officials in public institutions to do their job. We receive numerous complaints about the lack of sensitivity and goodwill when it comes to institutions that should ensure the implementation of laws related to animal protection.

The problem that associations and the individual citizens reporting on cases of neglected and abused animals are often faced with is that, even if charges are raised, they are rejected by the State Attorney Office with an explanation that no elements of crime have been found, and the case is not forwarded to the Court of Minor Offences although there would have been a possibility of punishing the perpetrator by having him tried there. We are of the opinion that the State Attorney Office should be legally obliged to forward such cases to the Court of Minor Offences. Moreover, animal protection organizations should have the right to make relevant suggestions directly to the Court of Minor Offences, since it often happens that, in cases when the Veterinary Inspectors have not done their job properly, which happens quite often, or when the State Attorney Office has not forwarded a case to the Court of Minor Offences, we have no legal possibility of bringing the cases of neglected or abused animals to that court.

We would like to draw your attention to the fact that animal abusers are not dangerous only to animals, but also to people and the society as a whole. Numerous studies have shown that violence against animals is only an introduction to violence against humans, and thus the timely punishment of such behavior can prevent further offences and crimes.

In view of all this, we would like to ask for your help and cooperation in implementing the laws in the domain of animal protection. The perpetrators should not go unpunished. We must send a clear message that Croatia has a functional rule of law, which does everything to prevent violent behavior against its citizens. We would also like to thank you in advance for publicly denouncing any case of animal abuse that might occur in the future, about which we will promptly inform you.

Awaiting your answer and possible cooperation, we are sending you our best regards,

Luka Oman
President of Animal Friends

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