02/10/20 Good law, poor enforcement
What have cities (and municipalities) done in the past year regarding the implementation of the Animal Protection Act?
- Due to the refusal of many cities and municipalities to implement the Animal Protection Act and the absence of sanctions for such behavior, abandoned animals and volunteers in animal welfare organizations suffer
52 associations of the Animal Protection Network warn that the Animal Protection Act, which came into force more than two years ago, is still not implemented in much of Croatia. There are many obstacles to its implementation, but the greatest is complete disinterest, and often the refusal of a large part of cities and municipalities to deal with abandoned animals, although under the law it is their responsibility. As sanctions for such behavior by the veterinary inspection are lacking, many people think that the law does not apply to them. The associations of the Animal Protection Network consider that the biggest obstacle is the failure to control the microchipping of dogs, which is the basis for the implementation of the Animal Protection Act, and the lack of sanctions for abandoning dogs and cats. They recall that cities and municipalities were required to carry out microchipping of dogs by June 30, 2018, with a fine of between $ 15 and $ 30,000 for abandoning an animal. However, this punishment is almost never imposed even though there are thousands of abandoned animals in Croatia.
"In many cities and municipalities in Croatia, although legal conditions are met and cities have concluded contracts with shelters, they do not actually care for abandoned and lost animals. They do not do so because low-capacity shelters enter into contracts for the care of dogs with a large number of local government units, although it is clear that due to their low capacity, they cannot perform the service. Dogs and cats, in this case, are often taken care of by individuals and animal welfare organizations operating in their area, ”warns lawyer Ivana Lunka of the Animal Friends Croatia, which is the coordinator of the Animal Protection Network. She pointed out that animal welfare organizations, which often have to provide public service instead of cities and municipalities, do not have permanent sources of funding, depend primarily on donations, and too often they take full care of abandoned, lost and injured animals instead of local communities.
"It is a shameful fact that there are still two counties in Croatia with no shelter for abandoned animals, despite the legal deadline for their establishment on January 31, 2018. These are Lika-Senj and Dubrovnik-Neretva counties. Such neglect on the part of the Dubrovnik-Neretva County only proves that the implementation of the Act is not affected by the lack of financial resources, since it is a county with one of the highest GDPs in Croatia,” concludes Lunka.
Animal welfare associations cannot understand such inertness in cities and municipalities that have serious animal abandonment problems and have not even prescribed mandatory permanent sterilization as control of breeding dogs and cats, which cost them nothing, nor do they subsidize castration.
Also, it is incomprehensible to them why a veterinary inspection generally turns the blind eye to cities and municipalities that do not care for abandoned animals and who have not conducted controls on the microchipping of dogs. Non-compliant cities and municipalities and a veterinary inspection that does not sanction such behavior have led to overcrowded shelters.