06/30/22 After more than a decade, they won't have to give birth in chains any more

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With emotions running high at times, 650 animals were neutered as part of the free neutering project in Banovina region

- Animal Friends Croatia demand Animal Protection Act stipulates compulsory neutering

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Animal Friends Croatia has announced that over 650 animals have been neutered since February as part of the free cat and dog neutering project covering the Sisak-Moslavina County affected by the recent earthquake. The project was made possible solely through donations by Astra Business Engineering, a number of other businesses and the public, running in excess of 300,000 kuna. “It is only thanks to you that we have had an opportunity to become part of a noble effort that has one sole objective: to reduce animal suffering. The project is still ongoing, and it is our goal to neuter 1,000 cats and dogs,” states the project manager, Svjetlana Prodanovi, Dr.med.vet., Coordinator of the Animal Protection Network project by Animal Friends Croatia.

Dr.med.vet. Prodanovi explained the project was demanding in that it required an effort to educate at the same time: “A certain number of animal owners find neutering unnatural. However, they find it very natural to drown puppies and kittens in buckets of water and throw them alive in dust bins or in forests where they starve or suffer for days before their suffering is relieved by death. It is of utmost importance for people to understand the significance of neutering which aims not only at reducing the number of unwanted litter but also at reducing the pathology of reproductive organs in female cats and dogs. I have gone through some very emotional moments and dealt with fears expressed by certain owners because people are afraid of the unknown. So, I gave ample pre and post-neutering advice and tried to reassure them. If I were to pinpoint the single most important aspect, it would be education, education, education.”

A good example is a case where owners were ready to refrain from neutering their two female dogs because they found it hard to look at stitches on their cat’s belly that had been neutered first: “After we spent some time talking, they decided to neuter them after all, and both of the dogs have since long recovered and are doing just great. I would also like to mention the case where we neutered two kitties, but the owner did not want to proceed with the third one as he thought she was “old” at the age of five. Many animals in the area are called old, even though they could still live three times their age. The third kitty was eventually neutered as well. And another owner was worried that the female dog would change her behavior after being neutered and fatten up. She was neutered as well, and the owner received advice on dog nutrition and exercise.”

Dr.med.vet. Prodanovi notes many people are impressed by their considerable efforts to neuter feral cats by borrowing cage traps and trapping them. An important part was played by phenomenal volunteers from Sisak, Glina and Topusko who surveyed the areas and informed on unneutered cats and dogs living in poor conditions, for whom neutering meant an overall improvement in the quality of life: “The last case was that of a female dog that had been living chained for 10 years, unable to fend off other dogs in heat, giving birth while still chained, whose puppies mysteriously disappeared after birth. She has been neutered and she will never have to endure such suffering again.”

Dr.med.vet. Prodanovi also recalls an emotional conversation with an 80-year-old granny who loves her 8-year-old female dog dearly, however, every time the dog gives birth, the lady’s son takes the puppies and disposes of them. Once she signed up for the free neutering project, she said: “You have no idea how happy you’ve made me – I cried for her and her puppies every time she gave birth, and that will finally end.” Stories like this are what make this project invaluable.
Dr.med.vet. Svjetlana Prodanovi emphasizes that thanks to the donations and the joint effort, more than 650 animals already lead better and healthier life. As around 10,000 cats and dogs are abandoned in Croatia every year, Animal Friends Croatia proposes amendments to the Animal Protection Act to stipulate compulsory neutering, with justified exemptions allowed. This is the only reliable, effective and humane method of reducing the unwanted and multitudinous cat and dog population and ending their suffering.

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