09/02/11 Rigorous Prison Sentences for All Participants in Animal Fights!

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On the occasion of the arrest of the man from Sv. Ivan Zelina who organized dog fights

- Dog fights are part of organized crime in Croatia!

The latest case of the arrest of the man who has for several years bred dogs for dog fights, organized dog fights and illegal betting and made money by subjecting dogs to gruelling and violent training, torture and bloodthirsty fights.

Dog fights are sanctioned under the Penal Code as animal torture. Under the Animal Protection Act it is illegal to agitate animals at each other or a man, or to train them to be agressive, to train animals for fights, organize animal fights or participate in them, visit or advertise animal fights, as well as organize or participate in betting (Article 2, Paragraph 2, Items 4 and 5).

Unfortunately, stipulated fines are between 10,000 and 15,000 kuna for natural persons. Such a fine is shamefully small considering the suffering which the animals go through, as well as astronomical profit made by organizers and participants in dog fights by betting and breeding dogs to achieve their combative and agressive behavior.

Animal fights are present in Croatia in a much greater number than police and the public are aware of. Organizers, at the same time owners of dogs who fight, publish anonimous newsletters about this "sport," distribute DVDs with videos of the fights, advertising and defending this bloody passtime. Fights are held regularly, and participants of these matches are not only members of the criminal milieu, but also intellectuals and university professors.

Animal Friends most severely condemns dog fights, or all animal fights, and demands that prison sentences for all participants - from dog breeders and organizers to all those who are present at the fights by betting or supporting in any way the torture and killing of animals in the name of the Balkan folklore and a bloody profit.

After the report against Robert Cukin, which was submitted by Animal Friends in 2007 for dog fights, and his arrest this year, as well as the latest case, Animal Friends hopes that further arrests will follow as well as police activities against organized crime related to animal fights.

Animal Friends invites citizens and the Croatian public to report all information on animal fights to competent authorities.

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