02/06/12 Keeping Dogs on Chains Should be Prohibitet

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Animal Friends' reaction on the case of murdered chained up dog, who bit a boy

- Animal Friends has started a petition to prohibit keeping dogs chained up

After the announcement in the media, about a dog who bit a five years old boy and was killed with an axe by the boy's father afterward, Animal Friends has been getting reactions from citizens that were revolted by the event and by the act of individuals.

According to allegations in the media, in Modruska Munjava near Josipdol, a five years old was alone in the yard and hitting a dog with a stick because it wouldn't let him take a toy. Dog, who was on a chain, attacked the child and bit him all over the head. The boy has recieved medical help and his injuries were sanitized. The boy's father killed the dog with an axe.

Animal Friends warnes that tragical events, such as this, that end up killing the animal and sometimes with human victims, repeat over the years without solving the basic cause of the problem – inadequately handling of dogs and keeping them chained up. Dogs are then being showed as bloodthirsty and dangerous animals that should be beated, without emphasizing the fact that the responsibility for the tragedy lies only in human hands.

Dogs, especialy in smaller rural community, are often kept on chains, which denies them the freedom to move around and forces them to spend their lives in miserable conditions, unable to protect themselves from the weather, being abused and hit by people. They often eat and defecate on the same place and there are numerous cases of chains getting carved in their necks. Chained up dogs are completely uncared for and their natural needs are ignored. During a longtime agony, frustrated by the impossibility to move, dogs progressively become sharp and dangerous guardians that growl and bark on anyone. When they go wild and attack someone, for „unknown reasons“, people who were so far their „family members“ kill them with firearms or using a hoe or an axe on their head.

Also, it is a parents' responsibility not to leave children alone with dogs, teach them not to tease them, not to pull their tails or ears or hit them with sticks and to teach them how to be peacefuland compassionate towards other living things. Animal Friends demands sanctioning the man who has beaten the dog with an axe for neglect, abuse and killing the dog and for the violation of the Animal Protection Act and Criminal Law, as well as for leaving the child without supervision. As well as it isn't legal and ethical to beat up a man with an axe, it is unacceptable to treat animals that way. He deserves a strict punishment because there is no justification for violence and murder. If the child got injured by a machine, problem would not be solved by destroying the machine, but by reference to the responsibility of parents, which is the case here.

In drafting the Animal Protection Act, Animal Friends' proposal of the prohibition of keeping dogs on chains or tied up otherwise was not accepted. Although the Austrian Law strictly prohibited any way of binding dogs, even a milder version of prohibition of keeping dogs tied up was rejected. Nevertheless, the Animal Protection Act does not allow forcing animals to behave in a way that causes them pain, suffering, injuring or fear; neglecting animals health, accommodation, nutrition an care and restriction of movement in a way that causes them pain, suffering, injuring or fear (Article 4, paragraph 2, items 12, 16 and 21). Pets must be kept according to their needs (Article 48, paragraph 1). Keeping dogs on chains interferes with this stutory prohibitions.

The citizens were shocked by Zlatko Mihaljevic's, who is a chief of community Josipdol, statement regarding the tragic event: "I am sorry that it had happened, especially because we have spent a lot of budget money on fighting against stray dogs and properly removal of their corpses." Stray dogs are often abandoned and abused dogs and no one should fight against them, nor it is killing them, what Mr. Mihaljevic suggests, a solution appropriate for a civilized country and humane society. Local communities have a legal obligation to sort out the problem of abandoned animals by building shelters, microchipping and neutering the dogs, punishing irresponsible people for abandoning and abusing the animals, raising citizens awareness about animal protection, starting at kindergartens and schools, and encouraging the citizens through media and public advertising to adopt dogs.

Dogs and other animals are beings that have their needs and they feel pain and suffer when being neglected and abused, just like humans do. People who don't have the conditions to keep and take care of animals, shouldn't take them and under no circumstances should they keep them in inadequate conditions, to prevent animal suffering and tragedies in which people and animals get hurt. State and local government have an increased responsibility to educate the citizens, encourage the culture of handling animals as sensitive beings, and not to act backwards and inappropriate to the civilizational achievements of 21st century.

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