01/08/13 Black Chronicle 2012
Appalled by the frequent and unpunished torturing and killing of animals, Animal Friends demands the punishment of perpetrators
- These 30 selected cases show the need for the most severe prison sentences for animal abusers
The public remained shocked the other day upon hearing about the dog whose jaw had been blown apart by a firecracker and the puppy whose legs were smashed by a shotgun or firecracker. In both cases, the veterinarians had to euthanize the dogs because of their heavy wounds. Volunteers from animal protection associations, who are mostly the ones to come to the aid of animals, in 2012 again had to witness terrible scenes of animal suffering, and despite the utmost efforts of veterinarians and activists, many of these animals did not manage to survive.
Regardless of the perpetrators' motives, these acts have one thing in common: the utter lack of empathy or compassion. For this reason, the abuse, torture, and killing of animals have become the focus of psychologists and psychiatrists, who warn that animal abuse is closely related to violence against other people, and that those individuals who tend to torture and kill animals are likely to show the same type of behavior towards humans, especially those who are weaker than them.
The Animal Protection Act foresees financial penalties for killing or abusing animals, as well as their intentional subjection to fear, but in practice the number of punished cases is negligibly small in comparison with the terribly high figures when it comes to animal abuse. The new Penal Code, enforced in 2013, foresees prison sentences of up to two years for torturing or killing an animal who can also be taken away from the perpetrator. Even though this is a significant improvement, Croatia still lags behind Western countries, where the same crime is punishable with up to ten years of prison. Experts in analyzing animal torture and killing have acknowledged these acts as serious social issues, and that the abusers and murderers of animals are individuals who are dangerous not only for the animals themselves, but also for other people and their social environment in general, which is why it is necessary to implement prison sentences in order to transmit the message that brutality against the weak will not go unpunished.
Although there are cases when casual witnesses do not react when seeing a wounded animal for days, there is an increasing amount of animal abuse reports. Throughout the year, Animal Friends and other animal protection organizations get a large number of reports from people who have witnessed animal neglect or torture. Our website includes instructions on how to report animal neglect, torture, or killing to the police, various inspection practices, and contact information for the district attorney's office. Animal Friends appeals to everyone not to turn their eyes away from scenes of animal suffering, but to report all cases of neglect or violent behavior against animals.
Despite the increase in the number of reports, a more compassionate society, which will be safe from violence against the weak (be it humans or animals) can be built up only by all of its members together, in cooperation with the institutions in charge of implementing the law. Prison sentences and fees are intended to send a clear message to the abusers, who mostly remain unidentified or unpunished, that violence will not be tolerated because it is directed "merely against animals." It is time for Croatia to make an ethical move by severely punishing animal abusers, and to denounce crimes against animals as a serious threat to the society as a whole, since those who torture animals are just as capable of abusing children and weaker adults.
Animal Friends would also like to draw attention to those animals whose institutionalized torture and killing is not punished since it is considered "normal" and socially acceptable. In 2012, over 40 million animals were killed in Croatian slaughterhouses and private households for human consumption, and in 2011 it was 77,729 tons of fish and other water-based animals.
We have selected only some among the numerous cases of sadistic torture and killing of animals in 2012. These cases were all covered by the Croatian media, and because of the comparable mindset behind the crime, we have also included a monstrous case from one of our neighboring countries:
January 2, 2012 in Krizevci: hunter shot a dog 30 meters away from its guardian
While walking his peaceful Labrador Bleki, Ivan Podolski from Krizevci screamed and begged the hunter not to shoot his dog, which was only 30 meters away from him. However, the hunter shot the dog and Podolski could only report the case to the police.
January 4, 2012 in Sarajevo: boy raped dog with an umbrella or a metal bar
Members of Avlijaner Association from Sarajevo reported the rape of a mixed breed dog, who was given first aid by veterinarian surgeons. The dog's anus was raped by an umbrella or a metal bar, and the suspect is a 14 year old boy, who committed the same type of crime three years ago, when four more dogs were raped in the same city district.
January 4, 2012 in Sesvete: bitch seriously wounded by a firecracker
A hiker found a seriously wounded, three-year old Belgian shepherd lifelessly lying in a forest near Sesvete, where she had spent four days. The veterinarians established that she suffered from heavy burns and open wounds in her thorax and abdomen, which were most probably caused by a firecracker or a similar type of explosive device during the New Year's celebrations.
January 15, 2012 in Nasice: underage boy tortured dog, tying it by chain and beating it with a rod
A 13 year old boy in the Osijek-Baranja County found a lost dog, which he then tied by chain to a tree and beat it with a rod, inflicting multiple injuries. The police raised charges of animal abuse.
February 2, 2012 in Modruska Munjava near Josipdol: killed a chained dog with an axe because the dog bit his son
A 5 year old boy who stayed alone in the yard started beating the chained dog because the dog would not let him have his toy. The dog attacked him and bit his head several times. The boy was taken to the doctor and bandaged, while the father killed the dog with an axe.
February 8, 2012 in Osijek: vandals painted two dogs with car spray, pregnant bitch aborted
Volunteers from Association Victories in Osijek saved two dogs who had been painted with car spray. Owing to chemical poisoning, one of them suffered an abortion and barely survived.
February 26, 2012 in Raskovici near Knin: unidentified vandal cut off a dog’s head and left it by the road
In Raskovici near Knin, an unidentified vandal cut off a dog’s head and left it by the road, which was reported to the media by a driver who saw the head. No inhabitant of Raskovici reported the case to the police, so the news reporter did it.
February 26, 2012 in Pazin: unidentified perpetrator threw eight newborn puppies from the bridge onto the frozen river
In an act of maniacal brutality, an unknown perpetrator threw eight newborn puppies from the bridge onto the frozen Pazincica river, which flows through the town of Pazin. The puppies landed on the hard frozen surface and died in agony.
February 28, 2012 in Bibinje near Zadar: shot four dogs with a gun
An unknown perpetrator shot four Tornjak shepherds belonging to a 54-year old man in Bibinje. Three of them died on the spot, while the fourth had to be euthanized by the veterinarian because of serious wounds.
March 16, 2012 in Petrinja: dog left to die in an abandoned cellar
Animal protection association "Sretna kuca" from Petrinja reacted to the reports and found a dead and wounded body of a dog in the cellar of an abandoned restaurant. The dog was tied by a short leash, surrounded by excrements, and had a wound on its back. His howling could be heard for days, yet nobody came to its aid or cared to call the association in time.
March 25, 2012 in Kastele: shot a dog with a rifle
While walking her 4 year old dog on the beach, a woman heard a shot and found the dog dead. She suspects that the dog, whom she had adopted from the animal shelter, was killed by a neighbor who had been threatened before to kill him, yet denied that it was him.
April 3, 2012 in Novi Zagreb: senior citizen threw a puppy from the fifth floor
A mentally deranged senior citizen threw a four month old puppy from her balcony on the fifth floor. A neighbor immediately drove the dog to the vets, but he died on the way.
April 17, 2012 in Imotska region: some 30 dogs poisoned within a month
Within a month, some 30 dogs were poisoned in Imotska region, both stray dogs and pets. Beside the dogs, several cats and wild animals died in agony from the poison. Moreover, more than 50 chained dogs died in the February snowstorms because their houses were covered with snow, and many of them also died of hunger.
April 27, 2012 in Vidovec: a man attempted to slaughter a bitch and two puppies
Owner of a bitch, who had been heavily neglecting and beating her for a while, stabbed her together with her three-month old puppies. When it was reported to the Info Centerin Zagreb, the veterinarians urgently intervened to save the seriously wounded puppies and their mother, who had deep slash wounds in her chest and almost bled to death.
July 6, 2012 in the village of Cucevo near Kistanj (vicinity of Knin): 90 sheep and goats burned to death in a locked stall
As many as 90 sheep and goats burned to death in a stall belonging to a 54 old man from Kistanj. The animals could not flee because the stall was locked. The police reported the case to the District Attorney.
July 8, 2012 in Nemetin: unknown perpetrators tied a stone to a dog with wire and threw it into the Drava river
A volunteer from Association Victories in Osijek found a dog in the Drava river, whom someone had obviously intended to kill. The dog was in heavy shock since it had probably been standing in the sun for hours, unable to move because of the stone that was tied to him with wire.
July 30, 2012 in Bilje: activists saved a bitch that had spent 10 days without food or water
Since the police and the veterinarian inspection ignored the case, estimating that the bitch was not neglected, activists from Association Victories in Osijek jumped over the fence in front of a house and saved two abused dogs. The bitch that had been left chained for ten days in a sealed kennel, with no food or water, was disoriented, dehydrated, and weighed only 4.9 kilograms, so she was handed over to veterinarian care.
August 18, 2012 in Daruvar: strangled a cat and threw her against the tree
On YouTube, a video was seen in which a young man strangled a small black cat and threw her against the tree. The cat remained shivering on the ground, and the man threw her deeper into the forest, cursing. The case was reported to the police and the State Attorney.
August 19, 2012 in Municici: a man beat a wounded dog with fists and drove him away in the back of his car
Mirjana Bencic witnessed a case of animal abuse when a car halted in the close vicinity of her house. A man came out of the car, opened the luggage compartment, and began hitting in rage an already wounded dog, which kept howling and whining, after which the man pushed him back to the compartment and drove on. Even though the witness wrote down the plate number and called the police, informing them about the incident, the police did not react.
September 2012 in Zagreb: student threw a kitten over the roof and published the video
Ante Palic, a student from Zagreb, shot a video of himself throwing a kitten over the house roof. He then published the video on Facebook with the comment "Flying cat, I gave her wings, ahahahaha."
September 24, 2012 in Pula: cat poisoning is on the increase
Animal welfare association "Ruka sapi" has been drawing attention to the fact that cat poisoning, resulting in an agonizing death, has been on the increase in Pula, appealing to the citizens to report such cases to the police and the veterinary inspection.
October 27, 2012 in Knin: tied a rooster to the exhaustion pipe and dragged him until he died
During the wedding ceremony at a church in Knin, some guests tied a rooster to the exhaustion pipe and dragged him along the road until he died. Animal Friends has raised penalty charges with the District Attorney Office, which soon answered that Josip Culin has been charged with animal torture.
October 29, 2012 in Skare near Otocac: a man bestially beat a dog to death
In the village of Skare, behind the house of a 44 year old acquaintance, a 56 year old man beat the dog to death with an agricultural tool, bestially hitting the poor animal until he was no longer moving. The police raised charges with the District Attorney Office on account of property destruction.
October 30, 2012 in Karlovac: unknown perpetrators broke kitten's bones and ligaments
Activists of Mijau association in Karlovac tried to save a month-and-a-half old kitten whose both front legs were broken in many places, since someone tried to tear them. The veterinarians tried to save one leg in operation, while the other had to be amputated, but the kitten died soon after waking up from the narcosis because of further complication and the need of another operation.
November 2, 2012 in Labin: mass poisoning of cats on marketplace in Labin
Activists from the animal welfare association Fenix from Labin witnessed a terrible sight of cats and kittens dying an agonizing death on the marketplace of Labin, falling down from the roofs of cafes. Some of the cats had been spayed and neutered and monitored by the association.
November 10, Novo Cice near Velika Gorica: a man killed his neighbor's chained dog with a chainsaw
Having found his dog dead and covered in blood on his property, a man from Novo Cice discovered that he had been killed by his neighbor, who had been hitting him repeatedly, breaking his ribs and inflicting multiple wounds.
November 20, 2012 in Slavonski Brod: unknown perpetrators tied a dog’s paws and muzzle, and threw it into a garbage container
Volunteers from Victus association in Slavonski Brod could not save a bitch thrown into a garbage container. Her muzzle and paws were tied with duct tape, her head was covered in blood, her body was full of ticks, and she was in a severe state of shock. Owing to her serious condition, she soon died despite being brought into veterinarian care. Some of the tenants from the neighboring buildings said that they could hear her whining the whole night, but none of them went to see whether an animal needed help.
December 19, 2012 in Darda: a wounded dog was lying in front of the school for two days without anyone helping
The dog Marti was hit by a car, after which he was lying for two days in front of the school in Darda. Not a single person walking by stopped to help and it was only owing to the cold weather that he did not bleed to death. Answering a telephone call, volunteers from the animal shelter in Osijek took the wounded dog to the veterinarian’s and Marti is now recovering after a five-hour operation of skin transplantation.
December 30, 2012 in Galizana near Pula: unknown perpetrators placed a firecracker in dog's mouth
The 8 year old dog Misko from Galizana had to be euthanized after someone placed a firecracker in his mouth, which caused serious injuries at his muzzle and head. The X-ray of his head showed that he also had two airgun bullets in his head and neck. The police are still searching for the perpetrator.