04/23/14 Reaction on the Article Correction - "In Pokupsko Cerje they kill animals for profit?!"

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City of Velika Gorica
Drazen Barisic, mayor
Trg kralja Tomislava 34
10410 Velika Gorica

April 23, 2014

Subject: Animal Friends' reaction on the article: Correction – "In Pokupsko Cerje they kill animals for profit?!" ... published on April 14, 2014 on Portal Velika Gorica

Dear Mr. Barisic,

We are writing to you in good faith because of the striking statement of Ms. Zlata Filipovic which shows the city authorities' insufficient knowledgeability of legislation regarding care for animals.

Statement: "A microchipped animal by law cannot exist in a shelter longer than 60 days. In other words, it means, if an animal in these 60 days did not find its old owner or a new foster guardian, it must be euthanized by law," is totally incorrect, and stating such information is not in accordance with the Croatian Animal Protection Act.

The Animal Protection Act does not require in any way the killing of abandoned animals nor does it forbid the animal to stay in the shelter after 60 days. Unfortunately, the Animal Protection Act only allows the killing of animals after 60 days if all requirements are met, meaning the animal was advertised for homing and if there is no place for her in a shelter. However, this option should to be used, or better said misused.

No killing of a healthy abandoned animal can be justified by the Animal Protection Act because the law does not require it; the killing of animals is left to be decided by the shelters and municipal authorities. After 60 days, the shelter decides whether to kill its protégée, whilst municipal authorities decide whether or not they will spend the money of its citizens for the killing of dogs. By that, it is not only meant the costs of killing but all costs spent for beforehand useless caring for that animal.

Each, the municipal authorities and the shelter have every single killed animal on their conscience, but also the responsibility to meaningfully and reasonably spend its citizens' money. There is also another way, more humane and cheaper, fairer towards the dogs and the citizens. A good example are cities like Zagreb, Cakovec, Varazdin and others which do not kill animals but instead conduct programs of caring, advertising, homing and spaying & neutering of animals as well as education of citizens.

Velika Gorica, having spent millions of kuna on this so far could have its own shelter that would be the pride of the city. A shelter built on city property and driven non-profit, working in the interest of citizens and its protégées – the abandoned animals. Kindergarten and school kids could be taken to such a shelter to be educated how to care for animals, without the fear they might during their visit to a shelter witness the killing of a mongrel who after 60 days nobody cares for anymore.

Such example Velika Gorica has in its immediate neighborhood – in the Shelter for Abandoned Animals of the City of Zagreb in Dumovec, where anyone can check the number of homed dogs, the number of children who visited the shelter and saved money. Other options are visiting Cakovec or Varazdin, where it can be seen how non-profit associations run shelters and checked their number of homed animals and all that for significantly smaller amount of money that is allocated for the killing in a profit veterinary station.

We would also like to learn what kind of law on vaccination and microchipping only the authorities of Velika Gorica know about, because such a law simply does not exist. And what kind of inspection acts according to this non-existing law, paying great attention to not let any single dog stay in the shelter longer than 60 days. The question arises, does Velika Gorica have its own laws and its own inspectors who do not know that other shelters keep their dogs several months in their care, some even unless they find homes for them.

Every shelter can and should be a no-kill shelter, in other words, it does not have to and shouldn't kill animals. Every city must and should, in spite of the laws, form an info center, care for animals, conduct programs of homing and spaying & neutering, and by educating the public show how to care for animals. Punished should be those who abandon animals and not those abandoned, who are already punished enough by irresponsible behavior of their ex-guardians.

We think that there is no place for anger towards citizens who warn on irregularities and show concern for abandoned animals, having the good for their city in mind. Instead, they need appreciation and realization of collaboration with them so things could improve since the current situation is obviously not good for anyone, least of all for abandoned animals and citizens.

As many times before, we reiterate our willingness to cooperate. As an organization which collaborates with the Ministry of Agriculture and other local communities, we offer our help to the city authorities of Velika Gorica for the proper implementation of the Animal Protection Act and equitable care for abandoned animals.

With respect,

Luka Oman

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