09/16/14 Veterinary Inspection and Animal Protection

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Dear Sirs,

We are writing to you today to share an example of a correspondence between your veterinary inspector and a citizen concerned about a neglected and sick animal.

Every day we receive many calls and e-mails with questions from various individuals who want to know what they can do to help neglected and abused animals. We provide them with instructions to report such cases to veterinary inspectors, the police and the Municipal State Attorney. With rare exceptions, the problems regularly appear because of the veterinary inspection's indifference to help an animal by effectively acting upon an abuse or neglect. It is because of the inspection's inaction that individuals contact us again to request additional information about what to do next.

To further highlight this issue of inaction, we would like to provide you with a recent correspondence between our organization and a citizen regarding a August 26, 2014 veterinary insepection report filed by a woman concerened with the poor condiiton of a dog at a settlement on Skupica 17 near Karlovac. This woman reported that the dog lives on a very short chain at a property where no one resides (in order to guard sheep) and that he is malnourished and thirsty in addition to being visibly sick (his left ear and half of his right ear has been bitten "by some parasites" and is bleeding). She estimated that the dog is in need of urgent veterinary care. Through the a third party, she tried to obtain information about the owner of the dog (Emil Mejaski, Vucjak 33), who allegedly arrives to feed the dog on occasion at the Skupica 17 address, and asked the owner if he would be willing to give or sell her the dog. The woman reported that she was prepared to temporarily care for the dog at her own expense and asked the veterinary inspection to prohibit the owner from obtaining another animal.

Vetarinary inspector Snjezana Gutic Jakovljevic replied to her report 18 days later (after the woman contacted her twice) with a brief, bureaucratic response. Vetarinary inspector Gutic Jakovljevic said, "The inspection is in progress. Concerning your wish to take the dog, contact the owner and arrange everything with him." She neglected to acknowledge the fact that the woman had already contact the owner and that he does not want to give her the dog, as outlined in the woman's report. After the woman's follow-up inquiry, veterinary inspector Gutic Jakovljevic replied, "Upon receiving your report, the register of vaccinated dogs was checked and there was no record either of the dog or the owner. In a telephone contact with an authorized veterinarian I was informed that my colleagues were at that address but they never found the landlord. An invitation has been sent to the landlord to appear and explain himself."

From everything said here it is evident that citizens are unable to trust and rely on authorized institutions, which in this case is the veterinary inspection, and that these same citizens will help a sick animal who is in dire need of rescue from poor living conditions, poor health care and inadequate feeding. The reply stating that the dog was not registered as property of that person, and is therefore not vaccinated and microchipped, that veterinarians did not find the owner at that address and that he was invited to appear and explain himself simply is not acceptable – it is cold, bureaucratic and illustrates complete indifference to the health and life of the dog. The fact that the owner is not at that address is poor excuse for not helping the dog, especially since it is evident that the law was broken since both the dog and his owner are not registered and the dog can be seen without entering the yard. Not taking concrete steps, waiting for the owner to show himself etc. will not help the dog who must continue suffering from hunger, thirst, sickness, and life on a short chain in all weather conditions.

In addition, it is not clear to individuals, like this woman who was ready to care for the suffering dog, why it is so difficult to help a living creature who is suffering because of the administrative obstacles the veterinary inspection has which does not enable it to take any concrete steps to help an animal. Why must citizens sit back and wait for the veterinary to take action? Why do they have to watch sick animals suffer and wait until they die for the veterinary inspection to take action, or why do they have to break the law and jump over the fences and steal dogs from yards in order to save them from their daily suffering?

We have the similar still unsolved case of the farm in Pavlovac: "After four years, veterinary inspectors, police, local authorities and heads of relevant state institutions were unable to halt the neglect and abuse of animals on a Pavlovac farm owned by Franjo Sojka... "

What should we tell citizens when they ask us why the veterinary inspection protects the "owners" instead of the animals? Who can we direct them to when the veterinary inspection does not act on their reports or sends citizens general administrative responses or makes a false assessment that the animals are in a great condition and that everything is fine, even when one can see by how they look and their visible wounds that it is not true.

We request that you please answer these questions, and also our inquiry as to the steps the veterinary inspection plans to take regarding the case mentioned in this letter. We would like to publish your reply on the Animal Friends' web site so that concerned citizens can have information about what they can expect when they report the neglect and abuse of animals to the veterinary inspection.

Best regards,

Luka Oman
President of Animal Friends

Sent on Sept 16,2014 to the following e-mail addresses of the Ministry of Agriculture: vana.raptavi@mps.hr, bsosic@mps.hr, upiti.gradjana@mps.hr, prijava@mps.hr.

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