03/13/24 Abandoning animals as a crime passed second reading

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Animal Friends Croatia welcomes the positive changes for animals in the amendments to the Criminal Code

- New security measure – banning abusers from keeping and acquiring a new animal

At today's second reading of the final proposal for amendments to the Criminal Code, parliamentarians supported the introduction of animal abandonment as a criminal offense! The Animal Friends Association welcomes this important news and the willingness of the competent ministry to harmonize the legislation with the cruel practice of animal abandonment. That's why they launched a petition in 2021 with the request that the act of abandoning animals should be punished by a prison sentence.

„It is highly commendable that abandoning animals has become a criminal offense, which is supported by more than 80 percent of Croatian citizens! Whoever abandons an animal, that is, leaves it without food and water, exposes it to numerous dangers in the city or nature. Animals can cause traffic accidents and get killed in traffic or by other animals. In addition, the person who abandons the animal is aware that the animal cannot survive on its own and that death from hunger, thirst, or freezing does not occur immediately, but includes prolonged suffering and agony. This shows a higher chance of the perpetrators to commit a crime and a serious social problem,” Animal Friends points out. They add that sanctioning the abandonment of animals will also be of help to cities and municipalities, which have to allocate considerable funds due to the irresponsibility of owners and the act of abandoning them.

Amendments to the Criminal Code also introduce a new security measure – a ban on keeping and acquiring animals, for a period of one to five years. The court can impose it on the person who has committed a criminal offense against an animal if there is a danger that they will commit the same or a similar offense. „We are very glad that this really necessary measure was included in the Criminal Code. We have witnessed countless times that abusers, after committing even the most serious crimes against animals, soon acquire a new animal, which they also abuse. These people remain a permanent social problem because people who are cruel to animals often also commit serious crimes against people,“ explains Animal Friends.

They also praise the increase in fines for the crime of killing or torturing animals, although they believe that they should be even higher, following the example of other European countries. Therefore, they hope that the tightening of penalties will be realized through amendments, as well as the proposal to sanction animal fighting as a criminal offense. Prescribing an adequate prison sentence should deter potential perpetrators, mostly from the criminal milieu, from training animals for fighting, organizing fights and betting, and causing animals pain and suffering, with often fatal consequences as a result of fights. Montenegro was the last to adopt such a provision.

„Citizens can be extremely satisfied with the news introduced by these amendments to the Criminal Code, which concern the protection of animals. Pending the imminent vote on these significant legislative improvements for animals, we urge them to continue reporting all animal abandonment and abuse so that the amendments to the Criminal Code, which we expect to come into force soon, will be put into practice,“ concludes AFC.

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