Due to the difficult situation of the city budget due to the corona crisis and budget priorities related to the health and the livelihood of citizens and assistance to the economy, the construction of the Animal Shelter worth 20 million Kuna has been delayed in relation to the planned deadlines, reports Dubrovacki Vjesnik.
“The entire project preparation has been made. The biggest challenge, first of all, was to find a suitable location, which took a lot of time, but the moment we finally had the location we were able to move forward with the realization. The location of the future Animal Shelter is close to the existing Grabovica landfill, which is currently in the process of rehabilitation and gradual closure. So far, a conceptual solution has also been made, then the main project, whose authors are the Zagreb studio PRAXA, and the cost estimates of all the works. This location for the construction of the Animal Shelter has already been included in draft amendments to the General Urban Plan (GUP) through targeted changes, which go to the next session of the City Council in September,” stated the City of Dubrovnik.
And confirmed that the future Animal Shelter will be built over a surface area of 20,500 square meters and will be able to accommodate 350 dogs and 50 cats.
Cascading new animal shelter
The shelter is designed in a cascade, in pavilions, which are divided into an entrance, reception and staff rooms and animal accommodation. The space for housing dogs in the shelter consists of a closed part for each animal separately and an open part of a separate fenced area within the circle of the shelter, dogs will be able to move freely according to their needs. In front of the boxes, therefore, will be outdoor running areas, fenced off, but allowing access to the dogs from the outside. Areas for training and socialization of dogs will also be provided. There is also a plan to build a service building where shelter staff, veterinarians, coaches, groomers and other necessary staff will be accommodated.
“There will be a space for volunteers who want to get involved in the work of the animal shelter, which will be managed by an expert body. A promenade has been designed between the pavilions and everything is integrated into the environment and the existing terrain,” stated the City of Dubrovnik.
The Animal Friends Association reiterates that the legal obligation of cities and municipalities to take care of abandoned animals has been in force since the first Animal Protection Act of 2006, and the Animal Protection Act of 2017 stipulates that if no shelter for abandoned animals is registered, that is, if it has not been established by any local self-government unit, the county is obliged to do so.
In violation for 14 years
“Apart from the fact that the city of Dubrovnik is in violation because it has not solved the problem of taking care of abandoned or lost animals in a registered shelter for 14 years, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County is also in violation in accordance with the Animal Protection Act. The City of Dubrovnik is constantly promising a new shelter and while cities with significantly smaller budgets are opening shelters and trying to meet their obligations under the Animal Welfare Act, the City of Dubrovnik and the Dubrovnik-Neretva County are doing nothing. The new Ordinance on the conditions for animal shelters has simplified the establishment of shelters, but we have not noticed that this has so far affected the implementation of their legal obligations,” said the association.
However, until now the City of Dubrovnik hasn’t had any sanctions for the lack of an Animal Shelter and the State Inspectorate of the Republic of Croatia reports that the reason for that is “Pursuant to the provision of the Law on Animal Protection from the Ministry of Agriculture which states that there is no obstacle for a local government unit to enter into an agreement on the care of abandoned and lost animals with shelter outside the county, the inspection is aware that the City of Dubrovnik has a contract on care of abandoned and lost animals approved shelter in Šibenik-Knin County.”
Legal minefield of animal shelters in Croatia
The Animal Friends Association submitted the opinion of the Veterinary and Food Safety Directorate of the Ministry of Agriculture dated March 25, 2019, which, they say, explicitly states that cities and municipalities cannot enter into a contract for the care of abandoned or lost animals with a shelter from another county. The opinion of the Ministry of Agriculture of 10 February 2020 provides for the possibility of concluding a contract with a shelter from another county, but the obligation of cities and municipalities to finance the shelter in their own county remains. According to that opinion, the Dubrovnik-Neretva County has not been amnestied from the obligation to establish a shelter, and the City of Dubrovnik cannot fulfil the obligation to finance its own shelter because it has not been established, so it cannot fulfil the condition under which they can conclude a contract in another county.
“There are several shelters in the Dubrovnik-Neretva County, in Dubrovnik, Korčula, Metković and Ploče. With the entry into force of the new Animal Protection Act, it is envisaged that animal shelters will be established by counties unless cities and municipalities in their area do so. As there are several shelters that do not comply with the new legal provisions, the activities of cities and municipalities are still ongoing in order to meet the legal requirements prescribed for animal shelters. In this context, it should be emphasized that the City of Dubrovnik is taking action to build a new, modern animal shelter, which we welcome as the optimal solution” add the Dubrovnik-Neretva County.
And revealed that they have established a Coordination Working Group for the implementation of the Animal Protection Act. And have appointed representatives of all cities and municipalities and associations dealing with animal protection and appointed a person for animal welfare in the county.