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LN: Czech state office turns into shelter for abused dogs

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Prague, Dec 17 (CTK) – The Czech state has to take care of neglected and abused dogs that were taken away from their owners and the numbers of such dogs remain rather high because the punishment of the owners is too low, daily Lidove noviny (LN) wrote on Thursday.

The Office for Government Representation in Property Affairs (UZSVM) is turning into a dog shelter, the paper says.

The UZSVM has received 122 abused dogs this year so far, its spokesman Radek Lezatka said.

At the same time, the UZSVM found new owners for 81 dogs from its shelter. “Generally, it is easy to find owners for pups, young dogs and bitches. On the contrary, older dogs that have problems to recover and get rid of stress after the cruelty are problematic,” Lezatka told the paper.

In November, the town hall of Mlada Boleslav, central Bohemia, took away 44 dogs from an old local man who was unable to take care of the pets.

The low punishments for cruelty to animals do not prevent the irresponsible dog owners from neglecting new pets again, LN writes.

The man from Mlada Boleslav faced administrative proceedings over cruelty to dogs already in 2004, 2010 and 2012. Last year, the authorities took 34 dogs away from him.

“This is a typical case. It is the same people again and again. The authorities seize their dogs, but they immediately get new ones,” League for Animal Protection head Dagmar Kubistova said.

She said it would be enough if the authorities checked whether owners vaccinated the dogs properly and paid the obligatory tax.

Kubistova said the Czech law on cruelty is well written, but it is not used thoroughly and stricter punishments are not imposed.

“If somebody were sent behind bars for two years, it would surely have a preventative effect,” she told the paper.

The paper mentions a case of two owners who had five dogs chained to a single chain in a small yard in such a way that they strangled one another when they tried to move. The authorities merely took the dogs away from them and fined them 100 crowns, LN says.

Punishments for cruelty to animals were made stricter in 2008, within the animal protection law, and in 2010, within the Penal Code. The fine for animal abuse may reach up to half a million crowns. A person can be sent to prison for up to two years for abuse of animals, in case of a repeated animal torturer to up to five years. An amendment to the animal protection law taking effect in 2013 introduced the seizure of the abused animals, LN writes.

According to the Justice Ministry, 732 people were prosecuted and 454 punished for cruelty to animals in the country from 1993 to 2014.

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