High Fines for Cruelty to Animals

Total Croatia News

New law on animal welfare brings stricter rules.

The government has recently adopted a new Law on Animal Protection that will allow animals, especially pets, to be better protected than they are under the existing/current law which was adopted ten years ago. Their owners will be punished more harshly if they violate the provisions, reports Novi List on May 22, 2017.

For example, the law includes a ban on keeping dogs on a chain or in inappropriate boxes, which will be controlled by municipal officers, and owners who do not comply risk having to pay a fine ranging from anything between 20,000 to 50,000 kuna. Similar bans have already been introduced by local authorities in Zagreb and Osijek, says Luka Oman from the Friends of Animals Association, and the situation has since improved significantly. Another new provision is the one that people keeping more than twenty dogs or cats will have to provide the same conditions as those provided in animal shelters, regarding space etc.

The major news on the matter is the ban on killing of abandoned animals after spending 60 days in an animal shelter, and each county will have to open at least one shelter with a minimum of 50 places. An owner who abandons an animal which is then found and placed in a shelter will have to pay the costs of care for the animal, as well as a fine of between 15,000 and 30,000 kuna. Starting from 1 January 2018, it is forbidden to breed and keep animals for the production of fur.

Out of a total of more than 1,200 comments submitted to the law during the public consultation period, the Ministry of Agriculture has accepted about a thousand of them, mostly concerning the ban on killing of abandoned animals in shelters.

With the 2006 law, Croatia has already forbidden keeping wild animals for the purpose of so-called ”entertainment” in circuses, but the new law is going one step further, because even domestic animals in circuses will only be able to participate in shows “for the purpose of depicting their usual behaviour, that is the same as the behaviour of animals in the natural environment.” It is therefore not entirely clear what would that mean for a circus.

Local self-government units will finance the establishment and the subsequent operation of animal shelters, and in their budgets, they will also have to provide funds to assist injured animals up to the amount of 549,000 kuna per shelter, which is a total of 11.5 million kuna for 21 shelters in Croatia.

“The killing of animals does not solve the problem of abandoned animals, and it is also an inhuman, ineffective and, ultimately, an expensive process. Animals in shelters should be micro-chipped, vaccinated, sterilised and given to new owners. The vast majority of animals from shelters are indeed given to new owners, but it is crucial to educate people and prevent them from abandoning animals,” said Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić.

Municipal officers will have the authority to enter the premises where pets are kept, examine their conditions, take statements and evidence, and file criminal reports or indictment proposals. A fine of 20,000 to 50,000 kuna will be imposed on persons who cause pain or suffering to animals, or deliberately expose them to diseases or fear, as well as to those who kill animals, train them for fighting, or organise/participate in fighting. The same fine is threatened to those who allow animals to suffer in inappropriate temperatures and weather conditions and those who shoot animals. A fine of 15,000 to 30,000 kuna will be imposed on persons who organise dog races, neglect or abandon animals, or if they do not seek veterinary assistance for a sick/injured animal or do not take proper care of the offspring of their own pets. A fine of 10,000 to 20,000 kuna will be imposed on persons who keep animals in catering facilities as “decorations”, under inappropriate conditions and harassment.

The Friends of Animals Association welcomes the new law, pointing out that the Ministry of Agriculture has listened to all the comments received during the public consultation period. Luka Oman, president of the Association, calls on politicians to join forces for greater animal protection. He says that Croatia has identified itself with this law as an advanced country with regards to animal protection.


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