10,000 animals abandoned in Croatia annually

ZAGREB, 4 April (Hina) – Croatian shelters take in 10,000 abandoned animals a year, mostly dogs, the Animal Friends NGO said on Thursday on the occasion of World Stray Animals Day, underlining castration, microchipping and fostering instead of buying as necessary measures.

Under the law, persons who abandon an animal can get up to one year in jail or up to two if the animal dies due to abandonment, the NGO said, expecting the possibility of imprisonment to result in fewer animals being abandoned.

The number of 10,000 animals abandoned yearly does not include cats and farm animals, which are also abandoned in large numbers, Animal Friends said.

It recalled that every dog or cat carer is obliged by law to make sure that their pets do not have unwanted offspring. “The castration of male and female dogs and cats is the best prevention against unwanted kittens and puppies and the problem of fostering them.”

Dogs also need to be microchipped so that it is easier to find them if they get lost or to identify owners if they are abandoned. Microchipping cats is not compulsory by law but is recommended.

It is estimated that up to 20% of dogs in Croatia are unmarked, Animal Friends said, adding that under the 2017 Animal Protection Act, all towns and municipalities must visit all households with dogs to check if they are microchipped.

Citizens can help abandoned animals by volunteering in shelters, temporarily fostering animals, walking dogs, sponsoring dogs, donating money, and sharing posts on social media on animals looking for a home, the NGO said.