01/12/11 Torture and Killing of Animals by Hunters in a Populated Area

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POLICE ADMINISTRATION MEDJIMURJE
Jakova Gotovca 7
40000 Cakovec

Zagreb, January 12, 2011

Subject: Torture and killing of animals by hunters in a populated area

Dear Sir/Madam:

Based on citizens' reports and media articles, we report the members of the hunting society Zec from Cakovec due to torture and killing of animals within the protected area of 300 meters from the edge of the town, endangering the security of people and animals and the violation of the Public Order and Security Act.

According to the information we received, members of the hunting society Zec from Cakovec, Ljudevita Gaja 35 were shooting pheasants and rabbits on Sunday, January 2, 2011, between 9 and 11 A.M. in the Cakovec – Mihovljan area.

The hunt took place within a zone 300 m from the town limits. According to the Hunting Act (Article 64, paragraph 1, item 2), it is forbidden to hunt game "in the 300 m zone from the settlement in lowland and upper land, and in the 200 m zone in hilly and mountainous areas."

Aside from the above-mentioned, the hunters violated other regulations of the Hunting Act: the boundaries of the hunting-ground were not marked, that is, the boundaries were not "visibly marked on places stipulated in the decision establishing the hunting ground" (Article 11), so the only way people could learn about the hunting-ground right behind their houses was when they heard the sound of gun shots and when they witnessed the sight of shot pheasants falling on the busy road. The hunters were walking near houses with loaded guns, although "moving on state, county, local and unclassified roads within the hunting ground shall be admissible only with empty weapons placed in a jacket-case or protective box" (Article 54, paragraph 2). In this case, the hunting ground was not marked and secured during the period firearms were used, and the local population was not informed about it.

Public Order and Security Act (Article 30) was violated in an especially coarse manner. Namely, according to statements and photographs of witnesses, one of the hunters shot a rabbit, wounding it in the process. After the hunters found the wounded animal, which was in pain and was writhing in agony for about 10 minutes, one of the hunters killed it by wringing its neck. Seeing that the wounding and the killing of the rabbit happened within 300 m from the edge of the town, the hunters outside the hunting ground cannot be treated any differently from other citizens who cause fear, pain, suffering and death to animals. Therefore, their causing of unnecessary pain to the animals needs to be sanctioned.

Also, the hunt took place in an area transected by a city road that connects Cakovec and Mihovljan and near the Senkovac roundabout, so the pedestrians and drivers who use this quite busy road were also endangered. During the hunt, the game and hounds can run out onto the road, and the shot birds fall down on the road, which endangers the traffic safety and people even further.

The citizens of this area live in constant fear and are endangered by the hunters, who not only break the law, but also disturb the peace and safety by shooting and killing animals less than 100 meters away from the houses. Even though the citizens do not enter the hunting-ground as observers, they are endangered in their own backyards and balconies. Children are especially endangered, because on that particular Sunday morning, the hunters were moving some 30 meters away from the playground.

Hunting, the use of buckshot and shooting near the town endanger the safety of citizens and animals, especially because similar events happen regularly in this area. Dogs and cats outside of the houses are also endangered. Moreover, they are often the target for the hunters, who constantly break the law by killing pets without any sanctions. In this way, a climate of fear and danger is created among the citizens. That is why we appeal to you to act according to legal provisions so that other, bigger human and animal tragedies can be prevented.

Due to violation of a series of other acts and bylaws, we have referred our reports to other competent bodies as well.

Please notify us in writing on the execution and completion of the procedure based on this report, so that we can forward the information to interested citizens and media as well.

Respectfully,

Luka Oman
President

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