12/08/15 Report to the County State Attorney: The Problem of the Abused Dogs in the Roma Settlements of Medimurje County

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County State Attorney in Cakovec
Ul. Josipa Jurja Strossmayera 9
40 000 Čakovec

December 8, 2015

Dear Sir or Madam,

We are writing to you because we are concerned and appalled at the news that children and adults in Roma settlements of Medimurje County massively abuse, torture and kill dogs in the most cruel ways and even organize dog fights.

According to the available information, the perpetrators, including children, usually do not suffer consequences for their actions. Residents of the mentioned settlements, especially Pribislavec and Kursanec, beat, hang and crucify dogs, cut them into parts, tie them to chains, drag them upon the roads, simply for a distorted enjoyment and vile entertainment. Kristijan Balog, a president of the Council of the Roma minority in Pribislavec borough, presented in the media the detailed evidence and proofs of the barbarities which the animals suffer, in both his and the neighbouring districts which are settled by the Roma people. He gives examples of live puppies being cut in half with a knife, the shooting of dogs, the tying of dogs on rail tracks, to be run over by train, the beating of dogs with sticks, the jumping on a dog's head, tying a dog onto a car bumper and then pulling it across the gravel road, and finally running the car over its head.

He adds that they organize the dog fights, especially pitbulls, in Orehovica. The fights usually take place so that mature dogs slaughter puppies, and those who don't want to fight are pulled by chains, beaten, and pushed into the cages for a fight. Aleksandra Hampamer, from the ZEU Animal and Nature Friends Association Čakovec, asserts that, in Pribislavec, there are around 150 fighting dogs who are extremely dangerous.

It is unbelievable that those responsible from the Medimurje county and the country, as a whole, have allowed the problem to escalate like this. The Pribislavec mayor, Visnja Ivacic, and the Medimurje prefect, Matija Posavec, acknowledge that they, alone, are not able to stop and prevent the illegal abuse, due to the fact that, in the Roma settlements, there are currently between 2000 and 4000 dogs , which are being brutally abused by the locals and that the situation is out of control. For this reason, they need help from all the institutions in order to stop this chaos.

Following the information above, we implore you, in cooperation with the competent institutions of the Medimurje county and the ZEU Animal and Nature Friends Cakovec, to take emergency measures for the permanent solution of this huge problem, so as to put an end to the suffering of dogs. We commend the Medjimurje Police Department which immediately took concrete action in individual case in Roma sattlement after learning of a violation of Article 205 of the Criminal Code, which refers to the killing or torture of animals. We appeal to you to continue to call on citizens to report to the police the torture and killing of animals and dog fights and to promptly respond to them, in order to encourage citizens to increasingly report violations of law, thus increasing the possibility of sanctions against abusers with prescribed jail sentence.

We especially want to emphasize the importance of putting into action the 58th article of the Animal Protection Act, which, by government authority and the bodies of the local and regional governments, stipulates the obligation to raise "the public awareness, particularly the youth, about animal protection." Given that children and adolescents, in the Roma settlements, are basically those who torture and kill the dogs in a great number, it is vitally important to educate them. Furthermore, it is necessary to sanction animal abuse, and to plan animal castration and adoption,so that we ensure a non-violent future for the people and animals in the Medimurje county.

Therefore, we require your urgent acknowledgement together with implementation of the specific legal measures, which will enable effective law enforcement, and the permanent care and housing of the animals. We ask you to inform us in writing about the measures taken, about which we will inform the interested public and the media.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards

Luka Oman



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