Execution of the Dog Korina in Croatian town Varazdin
Sunday, May 7, 2006, 9 A.M., a regular walk with my dog Korina, close to the residential area on Harambasiceva ulica in the City of Varazdin. The meadow near the barracks in Optujska ulica, a gravel road that leads behind the barracks and on to the bridge across the Drava Channel connecting it with the military shooting area. Korina was adopted two years ago, she is now a grown up dog, spayed, always around me. Today Teri came along as well, my fiancé's dog and together we're making a threesome often seen in the area, usually much earlier, but... it's Sunday.
We were on our way back to the residential area when cars started approaching – it was a caravan of vehicles; they must have been hunters (a sight often seen on Sundays); I know they were since they were shooting really close to the bridge, right next to the path along the Drava Channel. Though the cars were still some 300 or 400 meters away, I quickly ran to the other side of the road, calling Korina who was just a couple of meters away, to do the same. But the cars reached us, scaring Korina as she was trying to cross the road, and she started running in the opposite direction, heading toward Optujska ulica (the opposite side from the hunting area). Teri was on a leash, pulling me in the Iron Industry direction, across the meadow, wanting to go home, so I turned him to the side where Korina was standing, some 60 meters away but on the opposite side of the road. I was surprised to see the last three cars stopping, and SHOCKED to hear a shot and just one single 'WOOF'. I stopped dead. I saw a person coming out of the first car, crossing the road (3 meters), bending down and then dragging something towards the meadow, into the bushes aside the road. I finally managed to move and started walking there, and when I got close to the car, the driver saw me, ran, jumped back into his car and started driving in the shooting area direction, two cars behind him following. I quickly reached for my cell phone, calling out Korina's name at the same time. I called my fiancé, told him to come as soon as possible, and marked down the registration number. I didn't dear stop the cars all by myself, not after the shooting on the dirt road, 50 meters from the "Voce i povrce" company fence, 150 meters from the barracks entrance.
I kept calling Korina, looking for her. My fiancé came in the meantime and our joined search resulted in finding fresh blood stains and traces pointing to where Korina might have been. About 20 meters away from the road, hidden behind big leafs, Korina's dead body was lying. We first noticed a big gunshot wound on her left side; her nose and her collar stained with the dirt from the ground and the grass from the meadow wet with morning dew. THEY SHOT MY DOG – MY PET, a dog with a collar, my beloved KORINA, on a gravel road, barely 100 meters away from me.
I called the police who promised a prompt arrival on the scene. Some half an hour later, we saw a police car with two officers coming – from the Drava Channel direction, out from the hunting area, and not from the main road, the fastest way to reach us. After listening to my story, they took my records and wrote down several other information I wasn't able to check at that very moment, and informed me that the hunters were in the middle of the "vermin hunt" and that the dog was shot within the hunting area range. And they left. Blood on the road, Korina's body in the bushes, phone calls made again. The camera arrived, my parents – we took the hidden dead body to the emergency vet center for autopsy. The veterinary report confirmed that the dog was killed by a close distance shot from a rifle, which caused internal damage causing the death of the dog. We are still waiting for the official police report, and in the mean time, I submitted a request for publishing THE COUNTY MAP OF THE HUNTING AREA, since the area in question is not marked as a hunting area by a single existing law. The place on the gravel road where Korina was shot, nor the place where those people were hunting that Sunday morning.
Since it's my usual route, I've noticed how often people use this particular gravel road (walkers, joggers, fishermen, cyclists, farmers driving tractors, children and grown ups riding bicycles, people with their pets). Every time a military exercise is taking place on that area, the military makes sure the road is safe for public use, (although they use only blank ammunition), or they close the road.
On Sunday, May 7, around 10:30 to 11:00 A.M., while the hunt was still on in the grove by the Drava Channel, my fiancé took the gravel road undisturbed and drove all the way to the bridge. Not a single warning sign was put that live ammunition was to be used, nor a single person warned him the hunt was still on.
Vlatka Erceg, Varazdin