The goal of the Animal Welfare Act is to protect animals from distress, pain, and suffering in the best possible way and to promote the welfare and good treatment of animals.
The local veterinary enforcement officer is tasked with the official duties related to animal welfare and animal diseases. Other animal welfare authorities include the local veterinarians and the police, who can also be contacted in the case of suspected violations against the Animal Welfare Act.
If there is reason to suspect that the care or treatment of an animal is in violation of the Animal Welfare Act, the animal welfare authorities have the right to carry out an animal welfare inspection based on the suspicion. The authorities aim to carry out all animal welfare inspections based on suspicion without a prior notice. No information about the party who reported the suspected violation to the authorities is disclosed during the inspections.
In addition, the veterinary enforcement officer carries out regular inspections at sites stipulated in the Animal Welfare Act, such as places engaged in professional or other large-scale keeping of pet and hobby animals.
Filing an animal cruelty report
Anyone who suspects that an animal has been ill-treated or neglected or observes a breach of the Animal Welfare Act can file an animal cruelty report. A free-form report can be submitted to the veterinary enforcement officer by e-mail or by telephone.
Before submitting the report, find out the exact address of the place where the animals are kept and the name of the owner of the animals. In the notification, you should describe the transpired events as precisely as possible, state the species of the animals in question, explain how you learned about the situation, and provide the name and exact address of the subject of the report as well as your own contact details. If the building has an entrance code, remember to mention this in the report.
After receiving the report, the authorities will assess the case and take the appropriate measures. The person who submitted the original animal cruelty report cannot be informed on the progress of the animal welfare inspection, as the inspections are subject to domiciliary peace.
Nuisance caused by animals to other humans fall outside the veterinary enforcement officer’s remit
The veterinary enforcement officer does not handle cases where the keeping of animals or other animal-related activities cause harm to other persons. Barking dogs or other similar matters that may cause harm to the environment are not animal welfare matters, and the Animal Welfare Act is not applied to them. In matters involving public disturbances, you should first and foremost attempt to resolve the matter either with the party causing the disturbance or with the housing company. If necessary, the police can also be notified of violations of the Public Order Act.