06/07/14 Situation in Dog shelter "Ottova kucica"

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Ms. Vesna Zeljeznjak, Mayoress
Zrinski Trg 1
48000 Koprivnica

June 6, 2014

Subject: Situation in Dog shelter "Ottova kucica"

Dear Ms. Mayoress Zeljeznjak,

We decided to contact you and point to the problem in the dog shelter "Ottova kucica" in Koprivnica, which is owned by the Veterinary station Koprivnica. Namely, we received a letter from volunteers from the Abandoned animals protection association Argus from Koprivnica describing in detail and very picturesquely bad conditions that abandoned animals who are there temporarily live in.

In short, according to the photos and descriptions received, we can conclude that many provisions of the Animal Protection Act and Rulebook About the Conditions and Hygiene Services that Shelters Should Adhere to are not being followed. Namely, in Dog shelter "Ottova kucica," correct placement of new arrivals is not ensured which leads to mutual woundings and killings. According to the Article 20 of the Rulebook About the Conditions and Hygiene Services that Animal Shelters Should Adhere to, every newly accepted animal should first be placed in an isolation room in order not to mix with other animals, and that room should be cleaned, washed and disinfected prior to the arrival of the new animal.

Furthermore, cages that are situated in outer area are also unsuitable because the animals are not protected from adverse weather conditions, which is regulated with Article 26 of the Rulebook About the Conditions and Hygiene Services that Animal Shelters Should Adhere to in a way that the area for placement of dogs in the shelter should consist of closed part, which is heated and aired for every animal separately, and is of minimum size 1,2 x 1,8 m, and covered open part minimum size 1,2 x 2,4 m2. Also, according to Article 26, paragraph 3 of the same Rulebook, if there is more than one dog in one area, every dog must have at least 1,5 m2 for themselves in the closed part, and minimum 2 m2 in the open part, and animals should have some things that they are interested in, to play with. According to Article 19 of the said Rulebook, the temperature in facilities for dogs cannot be lower than +5ºC, and in the summer it can be in accordance with the outside air temperature, whilst there should be sufficient airing, and cooling if needed.

Also, according to the Article 13 of the said Rulebook, abandoned animal shelters must adhere to animals needs that are placed in the shelter so that the animals are not suffering from hunger or thirst, are not exposed to physical discomfort or fear, are protected from injuries and disease, and are in the environment that is suitable to their kind. According to the Article 19, companies and individuals that are working in shelters must ensure veterinary health care for the animals. The situation in "Ottova kucica" is such that dogs are dying, they are not given appropriate veterinary care, neutering surgery is not being done by experts, and animals are placed in cages containing other animals straight after, which causes complications and injuries of animals that have had surgery. Animal Protection Act, Article 4, paragraphs 13 and 16 forbid neglecting animals with regards to their health, housing, diet and care.

With this letter we appeal to you, Mayoress of City of Koprivnica - the person that has the highest power in the City, to change the way Shelter "Ottova kucica" works. City government has a responsibility to make the spending of your citizen's money meaningful and reasonable, which is why we invite you to spend the money of your citizens in the way to ensure normal life for abandoned animals in Shelter "Ottova kucica" and the conditions that are in accordance with the law. We would like to list some examples of cities that have well organized shelters, where the animals have all the rights that are in accordance with the law; Zagreb, Cakovec, Varazdin and others, that are taking proper care of abandoned animals, educate the citizens and run programs of rehousing and spaying and neutering.

We are asking you and appeal to you to work on building a shelter on city land, which will be run by non-profit organizations, which could be the pride of City of Koprivnica, like the cases of cities of Republic of Croatia listed above, the shelter that would act in the interest of its citizens and their companion - abandoned animals. You could bring pre-school and school children to such a shelter with the goal of educating them about how to take care of animals, without the fear that they will during their visit witness unsuitable conditions animals are kept in or animal killings.

As a concrete example we would like to highlight the Shelter for Abandoned Animals of City of Zagreb in Dumovec, where it is possible to check the number of dogs taken in, number of children who visited the shelter and the money saved. Other options are going to Cakovec or Varazdin, where you can see how non-profit organizations run the shelters and check their number of placed animals for considerably smaller amount of money than what is being spent on killing in profit-making veterinary station. Also one can check the conditions that the dogs are being kept in in those shelters, which strictly adhere to the law and are in best interest of abandoned animals that have found their new home there.

Regardless of laws and existing rulebooks which regulate shelters’ dealings and animal protection in Croatia, we are of the opinion that according to your consciousness you should find a way to control conditions and work practices due to the fact that the shelter is being financed from the city budget. Existence of the shelter where animals do not have basic life conditions and where there are no quality rehousing programs and castrations, can in the long term cause many negative effects for a city such as Koprivnica. Every town, therefore Koprivnica too, should found an information centre, take care of animals, run programs of fostering and spaying/neutering, and show by educating citizens how to take care of animals. Those who abandon animals should be punished, not those who have been abandoned, as they have been punished enough by irresponsible behavior of their former carers.

We would like to stress that we are prepared to collaborate and help create better conditions for abandoned animals of the City of Koprivnica, and help better adherence to the Animals Protection Act and the Rulebook About the Conditions and Hygiene Services that Animal Shelters Should Adhere to.

We are awaiting your response and hoping that the situation will change for the better soon!

Kind regards,

Luka Oman

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