12/08/10 Criminal Complaint Due to Heavy Negligence by the Owners of the Horses and Cattle in Lonjsko polje
THE COUNTY ATTORNEY SISAK
Mr. Igor Buric, municipal attorney
Kralja Tomislava 40
December 8, 2010
Subject: Criminal complaint due to heavy negligence by the owners of the horses and cattle in Lonjsko polje and unconscientious taking care of the consequences-against an unknown perpetrator
Dear Sir or Madam,
On the basis of information from the media, and the numerous reactions from disgusted citizens received via E-mail and telephone, we are filing an official complaint against the owner of horses and cattle whose bodies have been discovered after withdrawal of water from the nature park of Lonjsko polje, in accordance with the criminal justice act (Article 250, 252, and 260) Furthermore, we ask that due measures be taken to prevent further endangerment of health and life of the cattle by the same irresponsible owners (violation of the acts of the Animal Protection Act), and also to prevent the endangerment of the protected eco-system of Lonjsko polje (as a violation of the Nature Protection Law).
From the media coverage dating November 8, especially from Jutarnji list, one can see shocking images and facts about brutal and irresponsible endangerment of animals in the area of your jurisdiction. As an attachment to this complaint please find enclosed the aforementioned article from Jutarnji list dated November 8, 2010, which describes in detail the suffering of horses, and the article about cows which were rescued in time thanks to the responsibility of their respective owners (Jutarnji list, November 17, 2010). We are stating this as an examle because the problem which the public is debating is that certain cattle breeders are taking state funds only for financial gain, but do not care for the animals themselves. This problem has escalated with the obvious violation of several Croatian laws.
On the basis of collected information, the owners of the animals, due to negligence, have exposed the animals to unnecessary hunger and suffering, because the horses and cattle were left to graze despite the fact that the poor weather conditions left them without the necessary amount and quality of forage, so they were feeding with tree bark. According to the Animal Protection Act, Article 42, the owners have furthermore endangered the health and welfare of horses and cattle because: "Animals which are either temporarily or permanently not kept in buildings must, where necessary, be protected from adverse weather and climatic conditions, predators and other risks to their health and well-being." Furthermore the law states in Article 47 that those expose animals to adverse temperatures and weather conditions, contrary to accepted animal hygiene standards for individual animal species, or to lack of oxygen, thus causing them pain, suffering, injury or fear (Article 4, paragraph 2 item 13) shall be punished. Also, by showing such negligence they have caused the tormenting of animals described in the Article 260 of the Criminal Justice Act.
The situation is worsened by the fact that the animal carcasses were not found until a month later, in an already heavy decomposing state. That constitus a breach of the criminal justice act concerning environmental pollution and danger of infection (Article 250 and 252). The problem is exaggerated that it occured in the Nature park of Lonjsko polje, which is public property, and is protected by the Nature Protection Law (Article 171). One can therefore conclude that the behavior of the cattle owner constitus a violation of the acts of the Nature Protection Law endangering in the process the habitat, water and soil, of protected animal and herbal species, which is not in accordance with the law that states that the concessionary party must take measures to prevent pollution of the protected area (Article 214 and 215.)
We emphasize that the animals did not have adequate medical care while they were alive, and were after death by drowning left as a source of infection and a threat to the protected animal and herbal species. Due to the number of found carcasses (around 80) they may constitue a health problem for the water supplies found downstream, which are used by both humans and animals, which constitutes a heavy violation against the environment (Criminal Justice Act, Article 262). Because of the aforementioned, and especially the danger of repeating of the criminal act by the irresponible cattle owners, we ask for your dilligency in this matter.
We emphasize that during the evaluation of the criminal act, as a aggravating circumstance should be noted that the animals were bound or tied up to the trees and the fact that the owners were aware of the fact that they are obligated to take care of the animals like in the case of the owners of cows. The tied up animals had no chance of saving themselves (although horses are good swimmers) and were not supplied with fodder but left to their destiny. The owners deliberately and with full awareness failed to comply with the regulations. Furthermore, the suffering of the animals lasted for several weeks which shows the fact that there was an opportunity to approach and help the animals. The fact that nobody went to the place where horses were left shows the negligence of the owner, and the responsibility for torturing and failing to take any measures, all of which had the intent to cause the death of the animals for profit. From the media coverage of the event, one cannot determine whether the death occured by drowning, starvation or poisoning, of which the Veterinary inspection in Sisak probably has some data, because the authorized veterinary inspector Grbesa conducted inspectional surveillance and also has information on the identity of the perpetrators, e.g. owners of the horses.
The owners were, according to the Nature Protection Law (Article 172, paragraphs 1 and 2), obliged to obtain a permission for the animals from the management of the park, from which implies, as also by the number with wich the animals were marked, that the identity of the owners can be determined quickly, even more so because they demand reparations from the authorized ministry, an act constituting fraud. The owners have by their doing already caused the destruction of property which is subsidized by the state, and are now trying to gain benefit on account of natural disasters.
We put great importance on not only the criminal proceedings for the aforementioned violations, but also, if there is basis for doing so, charging the perpetrators with a misdemeanor.
We also plead that you inform us in writing on the measures taken, of which we intend to inform the public through media.
- Newspaper article concerning dead horses
- Newspaper article concerning saved cows