09/18/23 Finally, Prison Sentence for Animal Abandonment!
Animal Friends Croatia celebrates the good news from the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration
- Accepted the Association’s proposals also for higher penalties for abusers as per amendments to the Criminal Law
As per documents of the workgroup of the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration, working on the amendments to the Criminal Law, the measures for animal protection will be enhanced: abandonment of animals will become a criminal offense with an expected prison sentence of up to one year and prison sentences for killing or torturing of animals will also be increased. Higher penalties for animal abuse and prison sentence for abandonment is supported by a large number of citizens. That can be seen by a high number of signatures for a petition „Abandonment of Animals is a Criminal Offense”, but also according to the survey in which a high 88% of people declared they agree that a prison sentence is a must for abandonment of a dog. The Association Animal Friends Croatia expressed satisfaction that the Ministry accepted the proposal for which they started the initiative and petition in 2021.
„Abandoning the animal, that is leaving it without food and water and exposed to various dangers, the person acts with indirect intention – aware that the animal cannot survive alone and accepting such a consequence. Also, they are aware that death is not instant but involves long-term suffering and agony. Abandoned animals uncontrollably wonder endangering traffic participants, health and people. Furthermore, caretaking of abandoned animals is a huge financial burden for local authority units, that are legally obligated to finance and organize the tasks for caring for abandoned animals”, Animal Friends Croatia clarifies.
„Announced amendments are commendable and are a huge step forward. A clearly written sentence in Criminal Law can assist in ending animal abandonment. Considering that until now it was only a misdemeanor that is how it is seen and until now rarely was someone punished for this offense that has tragic consequences. But, the direct authority of policy will increase the sanctioning enforcement and for that, we welcome the proposal of the Ministry of Justice and Public Administration. We strongly believe that once implemented, it will make a concrete positive change for the animals”, Animal Friends Croatia adds.
Abandonment of animals is treated as a separate criminal offence in Canada, Finland, Sweden, France, Northern Ireland and Hungary while in Switzerland it is in a sphere of misdemeanors, but also with a set prison sentence.
Presently, as per the Criminal Law, a prison sentence of up to one year is for those who kill the animal or abuse it intensely, cause it unnecessary pain, or expose it to unnecessary suffering. If the criminal offense is done out of self-interest, it is sanctioned with a prison sentence of up to two years. Animal Friends Croatia proposes that the prison sentence for this criminal offense be increased to three years, that is five years if the criminal offense is out of self-interest, reckless revenge, hatred, for filming and distributing pornographic materials or for other indecent acts or in case of severe harming of the body, severe health endangerment or animal death. They point out the absurdity that for damaging other people’s belongings a prison sentence of up to five years is foreseen, while for the abuse of a life and a being with feelings only up to a year. Animal Friends Croatia appeals to the competent Ministry and that as per Criminal Law, as especially cruel manners of torture and killing of animals, sexual intercourse with animals and animal poisoning also be sanctioned.