02/16/06 Dogs are Also Passengers in Public Transportation
Animal Friends and over 100,000 citizens demand changes in the Act on Public Transportation of Passengers in the City of Zagreb
Dogs and Dog Keepers are Citizens of Zagreb and Passengers in Public Transportation Like Everyone Else
It is a shame that, in Zagreb, it is still prohibited to enter trams and buses of public transportation with a dog. Taking into account the fact that over 30,000 dogs live in the city with their human families, it is evident that Zagreb has been ignoring rights and needs of more than 100,000 of its citizens, as well as animals in their care.
It is not quite clear how people should take their dogs to the vets if they do not own a car. After all, it is unclear why they should be prevented from using public transportation with their dogs if they want or need to use it, given the fact that they pay their taxes and the costs of public transportation just like everyone else.
Animal Friends has contacted the ZET (Zagreb Electric Tram) and was told that they were willing to solve the problem of pets in public transportation and participate in further negotiations. Still, the question remains when the municipal administration of Zagreb will answer to our demands and set itself to work in order to solve the problem, which is an important issue for many citizens and their dogs. Solving the matter would also show that the city has a high degree of culture and respect for all its citizens.
Article 36 of the current Act on Public Transportation of Passengers in the City of Zagreb runs as follows:
Persons with impaired vision are permitted to enter the vehicle with a specially trained dog wearing a muzzle. On Saturdays and Sundays, days before public holidays, and public holidays, it is permitted to enter the vehicle with one dog in the period from 0:00-6:00 a.m. and from 8:00-12:00 P.M. The dog should be registered with the kinological association; it should wear a muzzle and be on a short leash.
This restrictive regulation, although formally existing, is inapplicable in practice, not only because of the hours in which dogs are allowed to use public transportation, but also because it refers exclusively to those dogs that are registered with the kinological association.
Therefore, Animal Friends demands, together with numerous citizens and their dogs, that the authorities in charge should urgently modify the existing Act or pass a new one, which will be the result of consulting with associations for animal welfare and the ZET. The aim of such regulation should be to permit the dog keepers to use public transportation under certain conditions, not to prohibit it.
Mr. Stjepan Scukanec (ZET) has told us that citizens keep phoning them with regard to the problem. Animals Friends Croatia has been receiving similar complaints through e-mail and by telephone almost every day.
Our organization has sent an official request to Stipan Matos, vice-head of the office for urban traffic and road system at the Department for urban planning, environment protection, urban development, architecture, municipal affairs, and urban traffic in the City of Zagreb.
Whereas in other European cities dog keepers are allowed to enter almost all public facilities, including restaurants and public transportation, we can only hope that Zagreb will begin by solving the problem of permitting dogs into trams and buses.