Dog DNA Testing in Dubrovnik: Pet Owners Could be Fined for Droppings

Dog DNA Testing in Dubrovnik: Pet Owners Could be Fined for Droppings

May 14, 2022 - Dog DNA testing in Dubrovnik could be introduced in the city soon, wth hefty fines for pet owners who do not pick up after their pets.

Dubrovnik City Councilor Krešimir Marković complained at a City Council session that more and more negligent pet owners do not clean their dogs' droppings from public areas, pointing out the problem of 'landmines' in many neighborhoods. Dubrovnik Mayor Mato Franković agreed, saying that it also irritates him and that the City of Dubrovnik will likely need to establish a dog DNA database to detect and punish irresponsible pet owners, reports Dubrovacki Vjesnik

Detecting negligent owners through dog DNA is not new and is becoming more common in Spain or Mislata, a city the size of Dubrovnik. Once introduced, the number of negligent owners quickly dropped by 90 percent. DNA dog testing was free, and owners who ignored the call were threatened with a fine of 300 euros. According to publicly available data, the cost of testing in Croatia is not small, about 200 kuna to take, prepare, and send a sample and 160 for analysis. Such a project was announced in Zagreb in 2016, though there has been no update on it in a very long time. 

The Ministry of Agriculture submitted data according to which 1,707 dogs were vaccinated in the Dubrovnik area since 2020. In 2021, 209 were chipped and 1,406 vaccinated. This year, until May 10, 49 dogs were chipped, and 372 were vaccinated. A total of 477,304 dogs were chipped in the Republic of Croatia, continuously growing from year to year. In 2015, 76,099 dogs were chipped, 355,979 dogs were vaccinated, and in 2021, 89,964 dogs were chipped, and 371,226 were vaccinated. They have no information or estimate of the number of un-chipped pets in Croatia.

"It is possible to establish a dog DNA database to sanction irresponsible owners who do not clean feces from public areas for their dogs, but the Ministry of Agriculture is not the competent body in the Republic of Croatia for communal order in public areas in local self-government units and therefore is not able to comment on local government plans, policies or their implementation," the Ministry said.

Establishing a dog DNA database is not cheap, warns Dubrovnik veterinarian Branko Širok. However, penalties have always been effective, so a more significant action by municipal wardens in punishing irresponsible pet owners would quickly become known, and many would think twice about not picking up after their pets.

The penalty in Dubrovnik for pet owners is already high, but few pay it.

"In 2021, municipal wardens in nine cases punished irresponsible owners, i.e., owners who released dogs without supervision in public areas that would be polluted. When acting in these cases, municipal wardens apply the provisions of the Decision on the conditions and manner of keeping pets and the manner of dealing with abandoned and lost, and wild animals, and the fine for irresponsible owners is 2,000 kuna. These violations were determined by direct observation of municipal wardens and the use of a device that would read the chip on the dog whose code would later be checked in the registry to connect with the owner," says the city's municipal department.

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