11/08/19 A criminal complaint reanimated the hen

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Animal Friends have sent a letter to the Croatian Football Federation seeking condemnation of the violent behavior

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- Whether the animal dies or not, cruelty to animals is a crime for which the offender should be held accountable

After Animal Friends Association announced the filing of a criminal complaint related to animal cruelty and killing of the hen committed by the football player Ivan Gazdek last Sunday at a match between FC Jelengrad and Jasenovac, news has been circulating that the hen’s owners now claim that this was not the case. Despite the previous admission that they picked up the dead hen after the game, now they say that the hen walked back alone three days after the footballer kicked her and tossed her twice to the ground, the second time further across the fence.

Even though everyone would be glad had the hen survived, it is really strange that after a clearly seen brutalization and extremely forceful kick with the cleats, the hen, which weighs only a few pounds, has no injuries, and her "resurrection" happened three days after the incident at the match and after the announcement of the criminal complaint. But cruelty to animals, whether they end up dead or alive, is still punishable by imprisonment.

The Association again points to the problem of not responding to violence against animals, especially in a public place, because only the referee reacted adequately at the match by giving the player a red card. None of the many witnesses at the match reported the crime to the police so that the police could come immediately, establish all the facts and initiate proceedings.

In a criminal complaint filed with the Attorney General, Animal Friends stated that the football player had to have known that such a strong blow, which would injure another player at the match, let alone a small animal, could cause serious injuries such as bone fractures and internal injuries, which then may result in the death of the animal in severe anguish. However, he did not stop and he persisted in ending the criminal act of cruelty to animals by inflicting unnecessary pain to the animal and exposing it to unnecessary suffering, which the recordings clearly demonstrate.

Animal Friends also sent a letter to the Croatian Football Federation and demanded that the HNS unequivocally condemn and sanction the behavior of footballer Ivan Gazdek, as well as the lack of adequate reaction from his club. Namely, not only will FC Jelengrad not punish its player, but they also posted a shameful statement on their Facebook page defending his violent act by calling him a good boy and comparing his act of kicking and throwing a helpless animal with aggressive conflicts among athletes on the field, which they justify as something that is "understandable, justifiable, in the heat of the fight.”

Furthermore, the club potentiates violence on sports grounds by claiming that non-sports people do not understand the term "hot head" because if they understood "they would understand why, for example, a fighter strikes another fighter who is unconscious”. Expressing understanding for their player's violent behavior and aggression in sports has caused an avalanche of justifiable negative citizens’ comments on the club's FB profile because the law applies equally to everyone and a criminal offense is a criminal offense regardless of the offender; whether he is a good boy, a celebrity or someone unknown.

In a letter to HNS, Animal Friends point out that savage, violent and aggressive behavior on the sports fields is completely unacceptable, regardless of whether it is directed at teammates, referees or animals who stray onto the field. They say that athletes should set a good example for children as they are their role models, and as a positive example they single out a wonderful gesture from last year's World Cup, when Spanish footballers Gerard Pique and Isco stopped the game to gently move an injured bird off the field. And Brazilian football legend Marcos Evangelista da Moraes, better known as Cafú, has recently become a consultant to the vegan company Sports for Sustainability Advisor, through which he will promote environmental awareness and sustainability through sport by educating fans on climate change issues. Examples of these athletes show that great football players not only achieve excellent sports results but with their compassionate gestures and humane actions they arouse the respect and appreciation of the whole world. To lesser-known clubs and footballers, such examples should be motivation and exemplars, not aggressive behavior of famous players.

They conclude that it is unfortunate that many of the world media, instead of writing about the success of Croatian football, in recent days, horrified, wrote about the shameful behavior of the Croatian footballer and condemn his cruelty towards an unfortunate animal. They expressed their belief that HNS does not condone the defense of violence, which is detrimental not only to this particular club but also to the reputation of Croatian football and sports in general.

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