The new Animal Protection Act for Croatia has been adopted by the Croatian Parliament at its session on October 4th, 2017 and came into force on October 26, 2017.

A lot of big issues have finally been addressed and exemplary regulations set, some of which are already being put in action:

  • complete/total enforcement of a no kill policy in shelters
  • ban on permanent chaining and tethering of dogs
  • ban on fur farming and breeding animals for fur
  • ban on the use of equines for pulling logs and firewood out of forests, except in hard-to-reach areas
  • ban on using animals in circuses, with the exception of domestic animals, and this only if their natural behavior is shown
  • after being used in experiments, laboratory animals before euthanasia must be put up for adoption

A few of the most notable changes, considering companion animals, shelter and stray animals, that should show clear results and significant improvements upon enacting (regarding shelters, microchipping and neutering/spaying):

  • mandatory construction of shelters in all counties
  • everyone with one or more bitches for breeding and sales of animals must register
  • a regulated deadline for controlling dogs’ microchips
  • spaying/neutering can be required by the minister and local self-government units in areas with a major problem of abandoned animals as well as the veterinary inspector can require the same for individuals who do not care of the offspring of their companion animals
  • shelters should ensure the spaying/neutering of rescued dogs and cats and ensure the microchipping and registration of cats
  • the local self-governing unit has to fund helping injured animal if it is unknown who has hurt them
  • coordination working groups in municipalities and cities that will encourage adoption of dogs in shelters, microchipping, spaying/neutering and education on abandoned animals

Concerning these paragraphs from the Act, it is obvious there is a lot of work to do—reminding and urging counties to make a population control program for abandoned dogs and cats, which leads to executing thorough inventory processes and field work. This includes the problem of overpopulation of stray dogs in Romani settlements where the situation is alarming, for they don’t receive no care, keep reproducing and transferring diseases.

The expected problems to arise are public disagreement with the neutering/spaying thus setting back the authorized personnel in enforcing these legislatives. Also, there is the issue of unregistered dog breeders who pose a threat to registered breeders and are mostly unwilling to cooperate in fulfilling their legal duties due to the nature of their practices.  

Mandatory microchipping is also one of the proposed tools necessary for keeping track of lost, abandoned and stray dogs but also for imposing penalties to neglectful or abusive dog owners. The statutory time frame for microchipping dogs is set to be the end of June this year, meaning it is of utmost emergency to make quality decisions and programs and start with the mentioned enactments.

The new Animal Protection Act is rather comprehensive and thus requires immense amounts of effort and determination, for it has put a lot of pressure on shelters and associations to promote the monitoring and implementation of these many provisions.

The new Animal Protection Act, with all its novelties, gives a good foundation for animal protection – especially regarding dogs and cats. However, in practice, the law will need the cooperation of the competent ministry, communal custodians, veterinary inspectors, vets, responsible people in communities, towns and counties, animals protection groups, institutions, and all citizens, to enforce these new protections and make the world a better place.

Read more on the new Animal Protection Act for Croatia on OIPA’s member league

 Animal Friends Croatia website