05/11/23 A fine up to 1 000 euros for public animal abuse

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Changes to the Law on Offenses Against Public Order and Peace entered into force today

- It is necessary that mistreatment of animals in a public place remains a misdemeanor

Amendments to the Law on Offenses against Public Order and Peace entered into force today, which increase the amount of fines for committed misdemeanors. According to this Law, a person who "unsupervised and carelessly keeps animals that can injure or endanger citizens or who abuses animals in a public place or mistreats them in another way", will be fined for the offense with a fine up to 200 to 1000 euros instead of the previous ones 20 to 100 euros.

The Animal Friends Croatia Association fully supports the increase in fines: "For more than 20 years, we have witnessed that small and symbolic fines do not deter individuals from committing misdemeanors that harm animals, but also people. Higher penalties will certainly have a preventive effect, which is especially important because abusers of animals often become abusers of people. In addition, it is necessary and commendable that with this Act the abuse of animals and other ill-treatment of them in a public place continues to be sanctioned as a misdemeanor."

They explain that thanks to the provisions of the Law on Offenses against Public Order and Peace, citizens can immediately call the police when they witness the abuse and mistreatment of animals in a public place, and the police are the only ones with the authority to stop bad treatment of animals and take measures to sanction offenders.

"Other legal regulations are not applicable in such situations. Municipal wardens and veterinary inspectors are responsible for the implementation of the Animal Protection Act. They do not operate in situations where public order and peace have been violated, but come based on a written report, often only after a few days, and even longer, and check the information from the report afterward. These are institutions that have their working hours and which citizens generally cannot reach even on weekends, holidays, or at night, but the police can help and determine what is going on", says the Association.

However, the police are competent to act according to the Penal Code, which sanctions the killing or torture of animals. However, abuse and other ill-treatment of animals in a public place often do not constitute a criminal offense. For example, someone behaves aggressively toward a dog in a public place and kicks or hits it, whereby such a dog, exposed to abuse, can become dangerous for the immediate environment. In addition, people who witness animal abuse are extremely upset and stressed. Only the police can help with a quick reaction in such situations, thanks to the Law on Offenses Against Public Order and Peace. Namely, the described behavior is not serious abuse and torture of animals, but it is the bad treatment of animals in a public place, which affects public order and peace and the normal life of citizens.

Therefore, the existing provision in the Law is also educational because it clearly states that animal abuse is inappropriate behavior that citizens do not want to see and tolerate: "It is great that such situations can be reported under the Law on Offenses against Public Order and Peace, and the prescribed higher penalties should deter potential perpetrators both from committing and repeating offenses. That's why we consider this provision of the Law to be very important and necessary, as well as the increase in the amount of the fine for the perpetrators", concludes Animal Friends Croatia.

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