Serbia: NGO Requests to Government Ministry for Information About Zoo Animals Result in ….. Order From Ministry for NGO to Re-Vaccinate Its Animals or Face Massive Fine

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Five days ago (late July 2009), one Serbian animal welfare organisation (EPAR of Subotica city) filed a charge with the government requesting that they forward a list of euthanasia, forensic results and diagnosis relating to deaths of animals in Palic Zoo, located 6km from the city of Subotica in Northern Serbia.

In a response sent by Mr. Micovic, Director of the government Veterinary Department, Mr. Micovic declares that the zoo does not come under the control of, or basically have anything to do with Republic Veterinary Inspectors.

According to our information and the new Serbian law for animal welfare, republic veterinary inspectors must be involved with all aspects of animal welfare WHEREVER animals are present in the country (Serbia).

In the past, republic veterinary inspectors who have visited and inspected the EPAR shelter many times, and always having found everything to be correct, have, on 26th July, now written to EPAR shelter and demanded that 174 dogs at the shelter must immediately be re-vaccinated.  All of the dogs which the inspectors require to be vaccinated were vaccinated on 21/07/2008, almost one year ago to the day.

If the dogs are not vaccinated, then EPAR have been informed that they will be punished by the veterinary inspectors.  EPAR will be fined 3,000,000 dinar and the President of EPAR will personally be fined 300,000 dinar.

EPAR shelter has many times requested that the veterinary station at Subotica visits EPAR shelter and undertakes a vaccination of all the dogs who are not already vaccinated.  Those dogs, the 174 vaccinated by EPAR in 07/2008 could also be re-vaccinated now, one year later.

EPAR shelter, being a shelter which takes animals from the streets and animals which are delivered / left at the entrance of the shelter, requested that a veterinary inspector attends the shelter and undertakes the vaccinations using money from the republic budget allocated for such vaccinations

But in return, the veterinary station director has responded in writing and demanded that the EPAR shelter pays 500 dinar out of its own funding for each and every dog which they declare has to be vaccinated.

174 dogs x 500 dinar = 87,000 dinar.

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Quite understandably, EPAR consider that this is a pressure being put on them by the government simply because of the original EPAR charges relating to information requests about Palic Zoo and the requests for copies of information and documentation about the standards for animals at the zoo.

EPAR are correct to think that they are being punished by the government for requesting information which should now be provided in accordance with the new animal welfare law of Serbia.

EPAR have also campaigned hard for the government to investigate further and to prosecute people and organisations in relation to hunting issues throughout Serbia. 

The government have done nothing about this in the form of any prosecutions, but they have now attempted to impose an 87,000 dinar penalty on EPAR shelter for vaccinations which should be funded out of the national budget.

Please view the following very recent photographs (26/07/09) taken at Palic Zoo and then ask yourself if you consider that animals here should be exempt from any veterinary inspections by government authorities.

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Brown Bear in its ‘enclosure’

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Conditions suitable for a roaming animal ? – it would appear not

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View of same enclosure in another direction

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Brown Bear Enclosure with Adjacent Leopard Enclosure

The Palic Zoo website is at the following, with a link to the ‘animals gallery’:

   http://www.zoopalic.co.rs/index.php/gallery2/action/list/?g2_itemId=224

Pictures taken of the zoo animals by independent investigators in recent weeks at the Palic zoo are shown above.  We consider that in the least, especially in relation to the conditions in which the Brown Bear and its neighbour, the leopard are kept, the very, very least which should be done by the government is to send veterinary inspectors into the zoo to check on the health of individual animals and as importantly, animal living conditions.

SAV have been in contact with international zoo check organisations; supplying photographs of the animals and living conditions where necessary.  This is an on-going task and we are awaiting responses.

So it is rather strange; an animal welfare organisation (EPAR) asks for information on animal welfare at a Serbian zoo; and the government responds by informing that the zoo inspections have nothing to do with their veterinary department inspectors, and yet at the very same time the government veterinary authority demands that the animal welfare organisation which originally asks the questions now has now been instructed to immediately vaccinate 174 dogs at their shelter, at a cost of 87,000 dinar, of which the government wants nothing to do with funding !

This situation is currently under investigation by campaigners, and we think and hope that we will have some breaking news on the veterinary vaccination procedures in the very near future.  Information obtained to date appears to be very interesting !

Please watch for new posts and updates which we hope to publish within the next 3 or 4 days.