''Killings do not solve the problem of abandoned animals. It is inhuman, ineffective and too much of an expensive procedure to perform, and therefore I support the “no kill” shelters in which they will be registered, vaccinated, and fed. The experience of animal rights associations with whom we cooperated while drafting this law has demonstrated that the vast majority of animals from shelters find new owners, but it is crucial to educate people and prevent the abandonment of animals,” said Agriculture Minister Tomislav Tolušić after the government accepted the proposal of the new Law on Animal Protection, reports Večernji List on May 19, 2017.
After Croatia banned the breeding of animals for fur back in January, the government's support for the new law has been enthusiastically welcomed by animal rights advocates, who, during the public consultation period, gave more than 1,000 comments which Tolušić's Ministry mostly accepted. The biggest news is the ban on the killing of abandoned animals and the establishment of no kill shelters in each county.
According to information from the Agriculture Ministry, last year 633 animals were killed in 28 shelters – 299 animals were killed due to illness or wounds, of which 71 were cats and the rest were dogs, while 334 dogs were killed because they remained in shelters for more than 60 days. However, it is assumed that the real numbers are much higher.
In order to address the problem of abandoned and lost animals more effectively, once the law has been passed, each regional unit will have to establish a centre for animals with the capacity for at least 50 animals. The animals will remain in the shelter until new owners can be found, which means that killing of the animals is prohibited.
There will also be other improvements in animal welfare. The law will regulate the issue of dogs being permanently tied, animals being used in circuses, the keeping of wild animals in catering facilities, etc. Supervision will be carried out by veterinary and agricultural inspectors of the Ministry of Agriculture. Local government units must provide sufficient funds to help injured animals and for the operation of animal shelters, in the amount of at least 549,000 kuna per year per shelter.
Luka Oman, president of the Animal Friends Association, called on politicians to advocate for greater animal protection. “We point out that this law is in the interest of Croatia, which is now an advanced country as far as animal protection is concerned, and that is one of the elements by which future generations will judge what kind of society this was – advanced or backward. We expect that all parties and MPs will support the new law,” said Oman.