11/26/20 Pandering to the hunters? Dogs are suffering and starving, and the inspection sees nothing wrong

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Animal Friends Croatia brings new shocking examples of the consequences of veterinary inspection’s negligence

– Croatian disgrace: Police advised volunteers to leave a hunter’s malnourished dog “to die”

This month, at the Po靖ak peak, between Velebit and Li鋘a Plje隘vica mountains, a highly malnourished, unvaccinated, and unchipped young female dog was found. She was brought down from the mountain by the people who found her, and with the help of the Animalex association, she was provided with complete veterinary care. The Zadar animal shelter took in the unvaccinated and unchipped female dog, less than a year old, that was starved almost to death and left in a quarry in Benkovac. These are just two of the latest examples that Animal Friends Croatia usually receives on a weekly basis about the extremely poor conditions of “hunting” dogs in Dalmatia, and especially on the islands.

“The cases, as in these two examples, almost always include Posavac and Istrian hounds or dogs of the type kept by hunters in Dalmatia. For example, this summer we found out about a case of a Posavac hound that was malnourished almost to death, found in the Stankovci municipality near Zadar. Volunteers found out that the dog belonged to a local hunter, but as they had no evidence due to the dog not being chipped, and because the police advised them to leave the dog “to die” where it was found, it was taken in by the Zadar animal shelter,” said the association. They said that a starving unchipped Posavac hound with a tattoo on his ear was also found in the Pola醀 municipality at the time, so his keeper, who brought him to the brink of death, will also remain unknown and unpunished.

They point out that hunters usually keep several such dogs in the field, miles away from populated areas, usually in makeshift dwellings that do not protect them from the sun in summer or from the bora wind in winter, leaving them more hungry than full and often out of water for days, until someone remembers to bring it to them: “We receive the most information accompanied by photographs from horrified foreign tourists who, walking through the interior of Dalmatia and the islands, far from touristy cities, find dogs in horrible conditions.”

Animal Friends Croatia responds to every report and forwards them to the competent institutions, primarily the veterinary inspection. Although the inspectors have extensive authority and they can file an indictment or even a criminal complaint about long-term neglect, almost all cases are usually resolved without any sanctions: “It is devastating and absurd that veterinary inspectors generally conclude that a dog keeper – a hunter, is keeping dogs in proper conditions and that they are all properly fed, even though it is obvious even to a layman that a number of legal provisions have been violated and that the welfare of these dogs is seriously endangered.”

The association notes that the veterinary inspection ignores even the fact that all found dogs are used for hunting, that tests and veterinary documentation of the dog are not checked before the hunt despite the fact that this is required by law and it is especially problematic that they have not been vaccinated against rabies as they have been in contact with wild animals that can transmit dangerous zoonoses. They say we never really find out about most of these dogs because they spend their miserable lives out of sight of anyone who could save them: “We find only these rare poor dogs who either manage to escape or are left to die because they have not proven themselves during the hunt. They get taken care of by various associations, but due to the negligence of the veterinary inspection, the hunters are not punished.”

Therefore, they believe that the reform of veterinary inspection is necessary, as they should be more specialized, more numerous, more educated, more efficient and more willing to sanction animal abusers, irresponsible keepers, and all those who in any way neglect animals and violate the law.

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