New Law: Prison for Animal Abandonment in Croatia

Lauren Simmonds

animal abandonment in croatia

April the 3rd, 2024 – In a fantastic and long-awaited update to the law, prison for animal abandonment in Croatia is finally here.

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, animal abandonment in Croatia will now see you put where you belong if you do it – behind bars. In a very positive twist of the law, the abandonment of a pet can now be to the police or the municipal attorney’s office.

The penalty if you’re found guilty of animal abandonment in Croatia is now up to one year in prison. This goes up to two years if the abandonment of said animal resulted in death, or if a large number of animals were abandoned. The penalties for the crime of killing and harming animals in Croatia has also been increased to a prison sentence of up to two years, or up to three years if these crimes were committed for profit. In addition, from now on, animal abusers and killers can have a special security measure imposed on them prohibiting the keeping and acquiring of animals, for a period of one to five years.

All the above-mentioned items are proposals that the Animal Friends (Prijatelji zivotinja) association sent to the Ministry of Justice during amendments to the Criminal Code. “We’re extremely grateful to the Ministry for accepting our proposals and thereby making a historic step forward in the protection of animals across Croatia, which will have a positive impact everywhere in the world. Our goal was to include provisions that will have a preventive effect, and now it’s important that we all act so that they’re implemented in practice,” stated the association.

They explained that people will no longer need to wait to see if the veterinary inspection will respond to the report of abandonment, but can immediately report whoever abandons an animal to the police directly: “This will speed up the procedure and make it easier to prove the act of abandonment. At the same time, it will dissuade people from abandoning animals because they know they risk prison time. We also expect that everyone will think before acquiring an animal, about whether they have enough money, time and knowledge to take care of their pet for many years. They will also be more responsible about breeding control and neutering their animals instead of abandoning puppies and kittens.”

On the other hand, according to Friends of Animals, it will encourage cities and municipalities to work in parallel to prevent animal abandonment in Croatia: “LGUs must carry out micro-chipping control of dogs by visiting all households, which has been their legal obligation since 2017, because the microchip contains information about to the guardian of the dog. Those communities that haven’t implemented it yet should be punished for not doing so. They must also educate the public about responsible animal care and finance the castration of dogs and cats. Instead of abandoning animals, guardians can help them by neutering and adopting pets instead of buying them.”

the details

On April the 2nd, 2024, an increase in the penalties for harming and killing animals came into force, and now amounts to up to three years in prison. It has been pointed out that the new provisions of the Penal Code should be the trigger for further legislative changes, and above all, changes to the Animal Protection Act and its accompanying ordinances.

The advice is now to report any case of animal abandonment in Croatia to the authorities directly, as anyone is now free to do so by law.


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