06/26/12 Shelters have Reopened!

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After protests and citizens' indignation towards the cold-blooded killing of healthy animals and the inspectors' actions

- Animal Friends expects reform of veterinary inspection and change in law from the Ministry of Agriculture!

The Ministry of Agriculture announced today that it will "release the quarantined area closed to prevent and control infectious diseases in the Dumovec and Noah's Ark shelters by allowing the afore-mentioned to reopen." Veterinary inspectors closed the shelters a week and a half ago because of an alleged rabies outbreak, killing 46 healthy dogs and cats placed in shelters (along with those recently adopted from Dumovec) after which blood analysis confirmed that the animals were not affected by the rabies virus.

Animal Friends would like to thank the Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Tihomir Jakovina, for fulfilling his promise about reopening the shelters but would also like to point out that it still expects him to fulfill his other promises – sanctioning all those responsible for this debacle which caused irreparable damage to the animals, citizens and shelters in question, an emergency reform on veterinary inspection, the formation of an animal protection inspection and repealing the statute of the Animal Protection Act which allows for the killing of animals which reside in shelters for longer than 60 days. Animal Friends would also like to thank Mrs. Mirjana Matausic-Pisl, assistant to the Minister for Veterinary, in carrying out the Minister's promises and emphasize our expectation in the implementation of a work reform in the Veterinary administration for the wellbeing of all animals, citizens and the Ministry of Agriculture.

Animal protection associations are aware of the importance of protecting humans and animals again rabies, but in this case there was no danger to human beings which is further demonstrated by the sloppy conduct of the veterinary inspectors who only did a basic surface disinfection of the homes of the people whose animals they killed or, in some cases, failed to disinfect the homes at all. It is clear that measures to rabies prevent needs to be implemented based on verified facts, and not assumptions and such measures need to executed in cooperation with shelters, associations and the citizens through quarantine and testing, not unnecessary killings.

The absolutely authoritarian and violent manner in which the inspectors entered people's homes and killed the animal members of their families before their very eyes is shameful and, in a civilized world, an example of an unprecedented violation of legislation and human rights that cannot go unpunished. This action caused enormous damage to shelters, citizens and animals, the City of Zagreb but also the Ministry itself. After this sordid affair, should a case of rabies actually appear there is a real danger that will people fall ill whilst trying to hide their animals from inspectors, which is neither in the interest of people nor animals. Inspectors need to be made aware that problems can be solved in cooperation with citizens with utilitarian humane decisions, and not with methods unbecoming those of the 21st century and a developed ethical society.

Since the beginning of the scandal in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Friends received a very large number of reactions and letters from people which testify to their sensitivity to the most vulnerable of creatures - animals who are unable to help and protect themselves from illegal and immoral human actions. Citizens previously associated the killing of animals with animal torturers, and are now shocked that they have to fear the senseless actions of veterinary inspectors. It is the task of the Ministry of Agriculture to take all legal measures in sanctioning all those responsible and to form an animal protection inspection for animal protection laws and regulations against killing animals in shelters and win back the trust of citizens, and citizens who were killed healthy animals provide compensation for the loss of family members and suffered mental anguish.

Animal Friends would like to thank citizens, the media and the institutions in supporting the shelters which do not kill abandoned animals, and the initiative of the associations and citizens willing to help and ask that they continue to support and assist animals.

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