ZAGREB: Over 10,000 pets are abandoned in Croatia every year, especially when their owners go on holidays, despite the awareness campaign that has been conducted by the Friends of Animals NGO since 2002, reported Croatian news agency (Hina).

“This figure speaks volumes about us as society, about our irresponsibility,“ Friends of Animals president Luka Oman told Hina in an interview. He added that despite this figure, there is growing awareness that abandoning animals is unacceptable.

“The situation would be much worse if we did not work so hard to solve the problem. We believe that it is better, much better than it would be if we did not invest so much. We believe that the number of abandoned animals will decrease if we continue raising awareness, amending and enforcing the law, castrating, microchipping and promoting adoption instead of purchase,“ said Oman.

“No one needs to take care of an animal, but if they decide to do so, they have to take responsibility,“ he pointed out.

In April this year, a law came into force providing for imprisonment for abandoning animals and banning animal abusers from keeping animals.

Oman said that animal abandonment has all the elements of a criminal offence and that prison time for those who abandon animals is very much justified.

“We believe that the law will act preventatively, that people will think before getting an animal whether they have enough time, money, will, patience, and suitable conditions to care for an animal for the next 15 years or so before getting one. We also expect that this legal change will trigger other much-needed changes, such as improving the Animal Protection Act,“ he stated.

“Now we need the law to be enforced throughout Croatia, for all cities and municipalities to equally fulfill their legal obligations to monitor the microchipping of dogs by visiting households, to regularly educate citizens about animal protection, which is also their legal obligation, and to finance the castration of foster dogs and cats,“ Oman said.

“By adopting, two animals are saved - the adopted one and the one that comes in its place to get a chance to be adopted,“ he concluded. - Bernama, Hina