12/11/15 Dog abuse problems in Romani settlements, Medjimurje County

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Office of the President of the Republic
c/o Ms Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, President of the Republic of Croatia
Pantovcak 241
10 000 Zagreb

Dear President Grabar-Kitarovic,

We address you to ask for help relating the issue of abandonment, neglect and other ruthless forms of dog torture in the Romani settlements in Medjimurje which has been around for years and no one has ever tried to solve it systematically.

County Prefect Matija Posavec and Pribislavec municipality mayor Visnja Ivacic recognized that the situation is out of control because there are currently between 2,000 and 4,000 dogs which reproduce uncontrollably in the Romani settlements which locals openly abuse. The County needs the help from the State and all the institutions.

Dogs do not have a chip, they have not been vaccinated against rabies and infectious diseases, and they are not castrated or medically treated. Moreover, they are exposed to the most monstrous torture and mutilation in Pribislavec and Kursanec settlements where a large number of dogs suffer in dogfights. There are applications attached to this letter that we sent to the responsible institutions and texts from the media from which you can find out the details of brutalization over the helpless animals and see the extent and frequency of atrocities against them.

We believe that this is a very complex problem and the solution requires persistence, durability and engagement of experts from various fields. The lack of education and training among the population in Romani settlements will permanently produce new violence. It is a terrifying fact that a large number of torture and animal killings are committed by minors, even pre-school children. The suffering of animals is their source of great fun and excitement. They are happy to show how to cause pain to an animal to anyone who is interested and they do not mind doing it because they regard it as a completely normal practice.

Research has shown that people who torture animals in childhood are more insensitive to people suffering and are most likely to commit serious crimes as adults. Children who savagely enjoy animal torture grow up to be people who are about to do the same to their partners and children. Therefore, this chaotic situation is not threatening only to dogs but also to our society.

For years, shelter for abandoned animals in Cakovec almost exclusively receives dogs from Romani settlements and they are at their full capacity because those animals are coming in very poor condition: traumatized, tortured, hungry, neglected, sick, trampled... Each new animal is in a worse shape than the previous one which shows that they are constantly exposed to violence. Nevertheless, torturers and animal murderers from these settlements are not sanctioned in any way, so one gets the impression that these settlements represent a separate state in Croatia whose inhabitants set the rules themselves. They shamelessly violate laws, they are violent and dangerous for animals and humans, and Medjimurje shows the inability to effectively solve these problems.

Chairman of the Council of the Romani national minority in the municipality Pribislavec, Kristijan Balog, said he wrote to the Ministry of Agriculture about this problem but they told him that they cannot do anything. This response from Ministry department is unacceptable. The resolution of this issue should include the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Social Politics and Youth, Ministry of Science, Education and Sports and other institutions.

Following the information above, please urge and encourage these institutions to act and to join forces in order to find the solutions that will stop any further dog suffering. The legislation should be implemented equally across the country. Children are future adults. Youth education, sanctioning animal abuse, programs of castration and care for animals are necessary to ensure a non-violent future for people and animals.

Best regards,
Luka Oman
President of the Organization

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