10/28/14 Request to the Ministry of Agriculture for the Revision of Inspection Performed by Dr. Vet. Med. Branka Horvatic in the Karlovac Shelter in Utinja

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Ministry of Agriculture
Veterinary and Food Safety Directorate
attn. Dr. Sc. Mirjana Matausic-Pisl, Dr.Vet.Med., assistant to the Minister
Planinska ulica 2a
10000 Zagreb

October 28, 2014

Dear Dr. Matausic-Pisl,

We write as a result of the public's great concern, about law violations and attendant lack of transparency, which have consequently promoted profound suspicions regarding the caring of and housing of abandoned animals in the area of Karlovac County.

The problems we are presenting have been present for many years now and have caused outrage amongst citizens who have contacted us on several occasions, in a desperate search for a solution following doubts over the professionalism and legality of the veterinary inspector, Dr. Vet. Med. Branka Horvatic's, work, as follows :

The city of Karlovac delegated the activities of the keeping and caring of dogs from the area of Karlovac County to the private company CRPK d.o.o. from Karlovac through concession. CRPK carries out the activities of catching and keeping abandoned dogs in Utinja. CRPK and the City of Karlovac have been widely denounced in public and in the media for not meeting legal regulations and for the condemnable conditions in which dogs are held, primarily in the hygienic service in Mostanje, and also in the "shelter" in Utinja. However, veterinary inspector Horvatic did not notice any irregularities up unto the present date which would then have resulted in closing down the said "shelter".

Furthermore, in 2006, a public scandal broke out after a media article was published of dogs which could not be re-homed in the Karlovac hygienic service in Mostanje being poisoned, sometimes with insufficient amounts, causing dogs to painfully bleed to death over hours. As far as cats are concerned, it was stated they were killed as they came, and animal carcasses kept in the same room with living dogs. Veterinary inspector Branka Horvatic, at that time, said that the Karlovac hygienic service failed to harmonize its activities with the conditions provided for in the Hygienic Conditions Services Rulebook, which the shelter had to observe in a timely manner. The inspector extended that deadline for another six months.

Following that, the CRPK then closed the hygienic service in Mostanje and started the hygienic service in Utinja, and in 2007 began running the Utinja "shelter". In 2008, the media wrote about a "repeated scandal and disgrace", stating that the company CRPK, in order to make money and avoid the conditional and advised methods of euthanasia and its costs, instead actually strangles stray dogs, and these 'euthanasing' procedures are paid for by the taxpayers of the cities and municipalities with which the company concluded an agreement.

Animal Friends organization has legitimate attestable evidence, from documented photographs in 2009 and 2010, of a series of violations of laws in the conditions of the keeping and the treating of dogs in Utinja. and in 2011 filed a complaint against CRPK, warning that the company CRPK gains unlawful material gain through the collection of euthanasia costs. The reply given by the inspector Dr Branka Horvatic declares that irregularities were found, upon inspection, in shelter activities and also of the activities of its own veterinary service and consequently they were advised of those decisive obligations required for the elimination of those irregularities, as well as of the complete provision for the legal indictment of the responsible individual, due to the found irregularities.

Despite all of that, the media recently released photographs of sick dogs in the continuing condemnable conditions in the Utinja "shelter". Veterinary inspector Horvatic then made a statement in relation to that: "Everything I did was in accordance with the law. I found 74 dogs and every one of them was fine. They were not depressed, nor would I say for any of them that they were in a bad shape," and added that statutory measures were applied for each of them.

It is demonstrably evident from all of the above animal-welfare concerns that there is serious ongoing and unresolved maltreatment of the stray animals. This evidence is fully supported by the informed position of the citizenry-public by means of the clear definition for the salutary conditions in which dogs must instead be kept and for consequently maintaining civic and financial support of the activities and conditions within the "shelter" in Utinja. The public and civic position is starkly contrasted with, instead, the opinion of veterinary inspector Dr Horvatic, who, conversely, has been of the maximum assistance, exclusively, to CRPK, tolerating the violation of the law in 2006 and of its activities uncoordinated with regulations from the area of veterinary medicine. This, despite her stating that in 2011 an indictment proposal was submitted "against a legal and responsible person, due to found irregularities," then, newly published photographs of dogs from Utinja show that CRPK continues to operate smoothly. The public has been witnessing for years that dogs are kept in conditions there unhindered, for which conversely, individual companion-animal-owners could face charges for animal torture.

We propose and believe that the new evidence seen on photographs and year-long indications by citizens and associations about repeated violations of the law in the Utinja "shelter" are the basis for a reasonable suspicion ; that the veterinary inspector Horvatic does not act in terms of animal protection, but that her actions protect the interest of the company CRPK in profiteering. Therefore, we ask you to review the inspections which the inspector Dr Horvatic has carried out so far in the Utinja "shelter" and to provide the resulting information, changes and improvements .This information to be provided to the public who thus far, against their will, have clearly been made to finance the operations of CRPK.

Our request is based upon legal provision for the condition of the dogs (documented on all of the complaints sent so far and published photographs) in accordance with the relevant legislation.

Kindly reply within the prescribed term, so that we may then publicly inform all, of the above.

Thank you and best regards,

Luka Oman
Animal Friends


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