02/09/21 Prescribed better conditions for animals in shelters

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Animal Friends Croatia are calling upon associations and units of local self-government to establish new shelters

- Amendments to the Ordinance on the conditions to be met by animal shelters have taken effect

Animal Friends Croatia reports that amendments to the Ordinance on the conditions to be met by animal shelters have taken effect. "We thank the Ministry of Agriculture for accepting many remarks of the representatives of our association and others that successfully run shelters during the drafting of the new Ordinance, as well as its amendments. The ordinance goes in the direction of lesser requirements regarding the construction of shelters, and the emphasis is on animal welfare in the shelter. We believe that this will be an incentive for local communities and associations to establish and register shelters," states the Association.

They say that the new Ordinance on shelters, with amendments, is a big improvement from the old Ordinance from 2004: “Animals that end up in shelters have already suffered a lot and should be provided with the best possible conditions during their temporary stay before adoption. That is why we insisted that the new Ordinance should emphasize openness to the public and facilitate the establishment of shelters by requiring less infrastructural conditions, with a focus on animal welfare, transparency, and advertising as well as animal adoption.”

Amidst positive news, they point out that, in addition to closed spaces, the keeping of dogs is also regulated in outdoor covered and open spaces where dog houses can be set up. Temporary adoption and accommodation of animals are prescribed, whereby temporary adopters can keep from 10 to 20 dogs or cats older than six months intended for adoption, but the animals should be contractually bound to the shelter.

„Animal food and water must be adapted to their species, age, and health condition. Animals must be provided with appropriate items of interest. Shelters must also have space for daily movement and socialization of dogs. Females with cubs, along with sick and aggressive animals, must be housed separately from other animals. Puppies and kittens should be provided with heating or an appropriate room temperature and a thermally insulated bed during their first month of life. The rooms for housing animals must be provided with a ventilation system and, if necessary, an air conditioning system," Animal Friends Croatia listing some changes.

Animal breeding must be prevented in shelters and all dogs and cats must be neutered, including adopted puppies when they are six months old. The castration of wild cats is also regulated. Veterinary assistance should be immediately provided to any injured animal which might be found, no later than two hours after the report's received. The adopter of a dangerous dog must be given written instructions on how to keep it in accordance with the Ordinance on Dangerous Dogs.
Animal Friends Croatia state it is important that shelters must be open to the public in two shifts, with regular working hours of at least four hours per day, including twice a week in the afternoon. They are obliged to keep numerous records, which contributes to transparency in the work with and treatment of animals. They should provide public education on responsible animal care, animal advertising, and the active search for foster carers through the media, the Internet, or other means of disseminating information and the promotion of animal shelters and foster care.

Furthermore, they should provide training for shelter staff and in-house training for volunteers on animal care and handling. The shelter must establish and implement standard procedures, displayed in a visible place for shelter staff and volunteers, to ensure that by guiding the responsibilities of individuals, all animal treatment for the purpose of ensuring their health and welfare is carried out at least in accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance.

The additional important news is that all data on abandoned and lost pets must be recorded through the Unified Information Center so that all animals and all information about them can be found in one place. In addition, shelters must record all field trips and interventions and submit a monthly report to local self-government units with whom they have a contract. "In doing so, the shelter must provide sufficient capacity separately for the needs of each local government unit with which it has a contract, which should prevent overcrowding of the shelter as well as the endangerment of animal welfare," Animal Friends Croatia explains.

They call on existing shelters to harmonize their work with the provisions of the Ordinance and on associations and local self-government units to proceed with the registration of new necessary shelters, which can now be registered much more easily. Emphasizing that the goal is to have as many small, well-functioning shelters as possible in which the animals will stay as short as possible, they invite everyone not to buy animals but rather to adopt abandoned dogs and cats and thus provide them with a new home.

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