Posted by: balkansanimalsuffering | January 25, 2010

Serbia: ** IMPORTANT ** – Constitutional Court of Serbia Says That the Killing of Stray Dogs and Cats in Serbia is Forbidden From 02/10/2005.

The Constitutional Court of Serbia says that the killing of stray dogs and cats in Serbia is forbidden from 02/10/2005.

Prior to the Veterinary Law of 02/10/2005, there was an old law dating from 1991 for the health protection of animals. 

In agreement with the old law of 1991, the authorities produced their own other ‘underlaw’ (extra law) regulation – named ‘Pravilnik 29/94’, which was intorduced to allow the killing of animals after they were held in pounds for 3 to 7 days.

From 02/10/2005, the new Veterinary Law Article 168 effectively destroyed everything that was written in Pravilnik 29/94, because the 2005 law demanded the care of animals.

Pravilnik 29/94 was overwritten by Article 168, the result being that all killing of animals was forbidden apart only from cases for Rabies infected areas, which were covered by application of Articles 64 and 65 of the Veterinary Law.

By continuing to undertake the killing of animals after 3 to 7 days in accordance with regulation Pravilnik 29/94, the authorities were then in a situation where they were working in opposition to the actual existing law.  Underlaw regulations (Pravilnik 29/94 also) have less power than the actual legal legislation, and they must certainly be in written agreement with the actual legislation, because if they are not in agreement, then the underlaw is simply not valid legislation.

But it is very much the case, even up to the present day, where authorities are still using Pravilnik 29/94 as a reason for the killing of animals.  But in reality, Pravilnik 29/94 became nonexistent on 02/10/2005 with the introduction of the new Veterinary Law (Article 168).  Hence there should be no killing, but animal care instead.

Whatever, Pravilnik 29/94 is only an ‘underlaw’ (extra law) regulation, has very less power than the actual law, and most importantly, must be in agreement with the existing law.  Pravilnik 29/94 was valid originally (1991 on) to protect animal health but is now in opposition to the new and current animal law – the new Veterinary Law Article 168 of 02/10/2005.

Serbian campaigners have written to the Constitutional Court saying that it is unlawful for Shinters (Dogcatchers) and also veterinarians to kill stray dogs and cats only after they have been held for three (3) days, as this is now old and outdated legislation.  Killing is forbidden under the new Veterinary law.

In an area where Rabies is present, then killing of animals is allowed (by Articles 64 and 65 of the Veterinary law), but an additional 18 other (Rabies control) regulations must also be complied with if an area (region) is to be protected from a Rabies outbreak.

Campaigners have now heard from the court in writing, and they say that no analysis of the case is necessary for Pravilnik 29/94 as it has been replaced by the new Veterinary Law Article 168 (02/10/2005).  This is exactly what the campaigners had said, ie. that the old ‘underlaw’ (extra law) of Pravilnik 29/94 was still being used when it fact it has been overwritten by the new Veterinary Law Article 168 of 02/10/2005.

In addition, Article 46 of the new Veterinary Law (02/10/2005) states that the killing of stray cats and dogs is forbidden and that instead they should be provided with care.

In effect, from 02/10/2005 under the Serbian Constitutional (law) Court, animals should be provided with care and not be killed.

It would appear that all of the public firms responsible for garbage collection in Serbian cities are still working to, and effectively using Pravilnik 29/94 rather than Article 46 (168) of the new Veterinary Law.  In effect, by still working to this now non existent law, these public firms who collect and kill strays are undertaking illegal work – they should be working in accordace with the new Veterinary Law Article 46 (168) of 02/10/2005 which demands care for the animals.

This is the reason why Serbian campaigners have now taken this case to the court of human rights in Strasbourg – an EU court.  The case – Garbage collectors in Serbian cities are still working using the (now) non existent Pravilnik 29/94 rather than Article 46 (168) of the new and current Veterinary Law of 02/10/2005 which demands care.  In addition, campaigners have requested justification be presented for all the animal killings by the authorities from 02/10/2005 right up to the present day.

So the situation currently is that if Article 46 of the new Veterinary Law (02/10/2005) has been complied with, which states that the killing of stray cats and dogs is forbidden and that instead they should be provided with care; then there should be many, many (thousands) dogs currently in municipal, city shelters (from 02/10/2005).  But Serbian campaigners actually have documented the numbers of animals which were collected and taken to city shelters; many of which have then been (illegally) killed thereafter.

A situation which now someone in authority should have to answer; where are all the dogs and cats that should be in the shelters under existing Serbian law ? – the constitutional court declares that killing is banned from 02/10/2005.

And as another case, if the authorities say that they have NOT killed the animals due to the law and they are now in shelters, but the animals are NOT able to be seen in the shelters as they may have been killed, then where has all the public money gone which has been given to the firms and collectors who should be rounding up stray dogs and cats ?

They may say that the dogs have been found new homes with new owners and that is why they are not in the shelters.  If this is the case, then it should be documented as proof what animals were microchipped and what the address of the new owner has logged under the microchip information, as the new Veterinary law declares that it is necessary to microchip and vaccinate after they have been caught; and that un-marked and un-vaccinated dogs are not allowed. 

A new Criminal charge is currently being considered due to non compliance of existing law by many authorities throughout Serbia.  If this happens and someone who has responsibility for regulation enforcement is punished because of this, it is hoped that the punishment will make other authorities change to a no kill sterilisation strategy.

There are no excuses for a crime such as this. 

Serbian authorities  and officials are responsible for ensuring the correct laws are implemented are:

  • Mrs. Sanja Čelebićanin  -Chief of  Veterinary Inspection
  • Mr. Zoran Mićović – Director of Veterinary Department
  • Mr. Radivoje Kaurin – Chief of  Hunting – Forests Inspection.

Please look at the pictures in the following link:

These pictures all show the consequence of the non implementation of existing valid laws by the Serbian authorities.  The Mayors of Serbian cities are directly responsible for the standard of animal shelters within their region.  They are the very people who can introduce the mechanisms of change and stop much of the animal suffering.

It is not acceptable for the state and authorities simply to use Rabies as an excuse for the mass killing of both wild and stray animals right across Serbia.  Rabies will not and cannot be controlled simply by killing animals.  And the paramount point is that if the authotrities think that mass killings are the way to eliminate Rabies, then why is there a situation where Rabies exists in several parts of the country. ?

There have been many years of killing animals because of Rabies, and it has not solved the problem; Rabies has not stopped !.  And so other and better solutions to Rabies have to be considered by the authorites, solutions above and beyond killing.

We have to question why the authorities are NOT giving oral Rabies vaccination to all wild and stray animals; a vaccination which gives an immunity for approximately three (3) years.

It would appear that many / all Serbian authorities are not implementing the most recent and current legislation which would give protection to animals in shelters, but are instead using old and outdated, non existing legislation (Pravilnik 29/94) as justification for the continued killing of animals held in shelters.  In addition, Rabies is also being used as a reason for the mass killing of wildlife and stray animals in some regions, which to date appear to have very little impact on a reduction of rabies cases reported across the country.  Furthermore, authorities seem very reluctant to introduce oral rabies vaccination to both wild and stray animals; a solution considered most sensible and appropriate by animal welfare NGOs.

Maybe the taxpayers of Serbia need to be made more aware of how their money is being spent and wasted using old and outdated regulations, and old and outdated methods of rabies control.

Another very important factor here is that what has been happening since 02/10/2005 is that existing Serbian law (legislation) has not been implemented throughout the country in relation to animal welfare.

And the proof of the implementation of the ‘Rule of Law’ is a paramount requirement for any nation wishing to become a future member of the EU !




  1. To whom it may concern;
    I am writing to express my complete and utter disgust at the situation I have seen at Loznica city pound.
    Firstly, I understand that it is a regular occurrence that dogs which are attempting to survive in such squalid conditions at this so-called ‘animal shelter’ are regularly being used as living targets by local hunters. I have seen the photographic evidence of one small female dog which has been shot through the body with a hunters arrow.
    Secondly, the conditions for animals at Loznica ‘shelter’ are a disgrace, especially when you are allegedly providing millions of dinars to make the place more suitable for animals. One has to ask where exactly this money is really going – maybe into the pockets of Serbian politicians rather than animal welfare.
    Members of the Serbian parliament who represent Loznica always speak against stray dogs whenever they have the opportunity. They never speak out about the irresponsible animal owners of Loznica; those people who care nothing about their animals, who turn them out on the street every day, to mate with other animals, the same owners who make no attempt to get their animal(s) sterilised; something which would very rapidly reduce the numbers of strays on the streets if only this were to happen. Progress in reducing stray animal numbers needs to be obtained through education and a sterilisation programme, and responsible pet ownership. Serbia does not appear to be moving in any direction with any of these programmes at the moment – apart that is, from its endless and pointless stray killing attitude, which will never significantly reduce stray animal numbers in the long term.
    The Serbian media continue to use a language of nothing but hate against stray animals. But the media does very little to analyse what has been continuously stated by animal welfare organisations regarding a national sterilisation, vaccination and identification programme to reduce stray numbers long term. Where the money which is currently being used for rounding up and killing a small percentage of strays, it could and should be diverted to instead be used to sterilise, vaccinate and identify treated strays on the streets; strays which are identified as having been sterilised and which are of no ‘threat’ to increasing stray animal populations.
    Shinters (dog catchers) need to be educated to ignore animals which are identified as being sterilised, rather than simply going on their killer mindset frenzy of wiping out every animal which they come across.
    Where exactly is all the money for the shelters and for animal control programmes actually going ? – could it instead be being siphoned off into the pockets of politicians ? – food for thought and certainly the views of Serbian animal campaigners who see very little progress in the standards of personnel (shinters) and the conditions of animal shelters across Serbia.
    Sterilised animals do not produce offspring; but neither the Serbian government or the Serbian media appear to understand this basic fact of nature. Money needs to be put into a sterilisation programme, not a continual killing programme which kills some strays but allows other non-sterilised animals to reproduce and effectively, continue replacing the numbers of animals which have recently been caught and killed by an archaic and very uneducated regime.
    Serbian animal activists have much proof of animal abuses and have asked for the intervention of the Serbian government in agreement with the obligation (of the government) which is defined in Article 192 of the Serbian Constitution, and also Article 8 of the Law of Government. Despite their requests to the Serbian government, these citizens of Serbia are being ignored. So what can be said about the rights of Serbian citizens when they are ignored by their own government, despite there being legal obligations which the government should adhere to ?
    I am sending a copy of this letter to the EU Enlargement Commissioner, Mr. Olli Rehn; to inform him that in no way is Serbia currently in a position to be accepted into the EU. It is clear from the situations at Loznica alone, regardless of any other Serbian cities and their approach to stray animal control procedures, that you as a government are not enforcing your own rule of law, a fundamental requirement for membership of the EU. An additional copy of this letter is being forwarded to the OIE, Paris, to inform them of the animal abuses and non-compliance with the existing animal protection legislation in Serbia. Legislation which the government would appear to be ignoring and dismissing.
    Instead, you continue to allow local authorities to work using the old, outdated and illegal legislation of Pravilnik 29/94; legislation which has since 2005 been overwritten by Article 168, the Serbian Veterinary Law of 02/10/2005.
    Local authorities across Serbia are using Pravilnik 29/94 to continue killing animals held in pounds after 3-7 days when in fact they should now, and from late 2005, have been using the new Veterinary Law Article 168 which demands the care of animals, not the killing.
    This has recently been verified to Serbian animal campaigners by the Constitutional Court of Serbia. Proof of this can be provided if requested, either by the Serbian government, the EU Enlargement commission, or the OIE for animal health in Paris.
    You, as the Serbian government, are not enforcing the current veterinary law to proterct animals. Instead, you are continuing to use old and now illegal legislation for the killing of animals. This is not acceptable and the EU Commissioner is now going to be informed that the Serbian government cannot enforce ‘the rule of law’ as required to be shown for EU membership.
    Although as a government you should be fully aware of national legislation, but obviously you are not, I will have to make it clear to you:
    Pravilnik 29/94 became nonexistent on 02/10/2005 when it was replaced by the new veterinary law Article 168 which demands the care of animals, not the killing.
    Also, I now understand that authorities have started discussions at a meeting in Negotin; where these authorities have plans to introduce a new version of the old and illegal Pravilnik 29/94, which returns back to allowing animal killings after 30 days of being held in a shelter.
    There would be not law for the care of animals under this new regime, simply a policy of kill, kill, kill.
    I guess the reason for this new kill policy is because shinters, veterinarians and many politicians all take money from the public purse by being involved with an animal killing strategy. You obviously wish to keep these advocates of animal killing funded from the public purse, so you are possibly going to introduce new legislation (the new Pravilnik 29/94) to ensure that this continues to happen. Public money for continued killing with no real long term programme to reduce animal numbers by other methods – this is what the Negotin discussions are aimed at.
    This discussion has started in the city of Bor; the city where over 1,000 bodies of illegally killed animals have been left on the city dump, and also where live animals are left on the dump wrapped in plastic bags to suffer a long and terrible death.
    Again, we have the evidence and can provide photographs to any parties who request them.
    The Serbian government is not enforcing new (2005) national legislation to protect animals,
    The Serbian government are not enforcing the law of the Serbian government,
    the law for public competition,
    The Serbian government are not enforcing the Criminal Code,
    The Serbian government are not enforcing the verdict of the Constitutional Court of Serbia, or enforcing the Serbian Constitution,
    In summary, there is no enforcement of the Serbian ‘rule of law’ and as such, I consider that you as a nation are not elegible for membership of the EU until you show positive changes with regard each and every one of these areas.
    Both Commissioner Rehn at the EU and the OIE Paris will be provided with a copy of this mail.

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