The Animals Act is a framework law that lays down the framework applicable to all regulations relating to captive animals. The law is further elaborated in subordinate regulations, such as decrees and ministerial orders. The most important elaborations are the Decree on Animal Keepers and the Regulation on Animal Keepers.
The Law lays down several rules that apply to all animals, including non-captive as well as wild animals. For example, the prohibition of cruelty to animals laid down under Section 2.1(1) of the Act, and the obligation to provide the necessary care to needy animals as per Section 2.1(6) of the Act. These standards apply to all animals and to all persons as well. However, the majority of the norms laid down under the Animals Act or in the regulations based on the same, are specifically concerned with captive animals.
Apart from norms pertaining to the keeping of animals, the Animals Act also for example lays down norms relating to animal products, animal diseases and veterinary medicines. The regulations on veterinary medicines may be termed complex. Kuyp Baar advocaten regularly provides advice to veterinarians, animal shelters and traders in veterinary medicines concerning the interpretation of these regulations. Assistance is also provided in proceedings concerning the alleged violations of these regulations.
Many of the standards in the Animal Welfare Act relate to animal welfare. Our firm provides assistance to individuals and organisations engaged in efforts to promote animal rights and animal welfare. This may include proceedings aimed at ensuring the adequate enforcement of the Animals Act with a view to achieving a higher level of animal welfare. We also provide assistance to animal shelters and other organisations engaged in promoting the interests of animals, which are themselves faced with enforcement actions.
In view of the 'open' nature of many of the standards in the Animals Act and the Animal Keepers Decree, there is frequent litigation concerning the scope and interpretation of the said norms. Mr Baar regularly publishes on this subject in legal journals and also gives courses on the same.
Nature Protection Act
Apart from the Animals Act, the Nature Conservation Act also contains rules about animals. These are mainly concerned with the protection of wild animals and the regulation of trade in wild animals or wild animal products. This Act also provides the framework for the application of the European CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) regulations, which include native and exotic animal species and prohibitions on the keeping of certain types of animals. Kuyp Baar advocaten has the necessary experience with proceedings under this Act.
Enforcement action may also be initiated in case a dog bites another dog or a person. The municipality has the power to undertake various measures on the basis of the General Municipal By-Laws (APV). For example, it may impose the obligation that a leash and a muzzle should be worn. The municipality also has the power to impound the dog. It is possible to initiate proceedings against such administrative measures.
The police can also investigate the biting incident. As the owner, it is possible that you may be prosecuted for violating Section 425 of the Criminal Code, namely the failure to take sufficient care to ensure that a dangerous animal is kept harmless. The dog may also be impounded under criminal law. Proceedings may be instituted against this as well.
In case a dog is impounded, it is important to seek assistance as soon as possible in order to prevent the dog from being sold, given to others or, even worse, killed. In fact it is conventional for the keeper who is in charge of the dog after the impoundment, to quickly apply for authorisation to sell the same. Such an authorisation is often granted quickly, unless timely action is taken against the impoundment. The dog will then already have been disposed of, even before the procedure has been conducted. Furthermore, a behavioural test is often made after a biting incident. This is one more reason to obtain expert assistance without delay. We regularly collaborate with various experts who can draw up a counter report - a contrary expert assessment - and who can train the dog if necessary.
Has your dog bitten someone or another dog? If so, please contact us as soon as possible.
Enforcement may also not be carried out for other reasons, e.g. because the administrative body intends to legalise a particular offence and therefore knowingly avoid enforcing the law in anticipation of legalisation. Or there may be a tolerance policy, for example. The administrative body may also interpret the applicable rule differently and therefore may dispute that any violation has taken place.
If you feel that there has been a violation in respect of which the law is not being enforced, it is possible to file an application for enforcement. A decision must follow such an application, and furthermore, it is possible to lodge objections and appeals against such decision. However, it is important in such cases that the application is sufficiently concrete and clear in order to qualify as an application for enforcement. It may therefore be advisable to seek advice before filing an application, in order to ensure that your application for enforcement meets the requirements and is actually dealt with.
If your application for enforcement is subsequently denied, we can assist you in proceedings against such denial.
Kuyp Baar advocaten has extensive experience in conducting proceedings against the dismissal of an application for enforcement, as well as providing advice concerning the filing of applications for enforcement. We act on behalf of private individuals or companies who wish to enforce the law in relation to an individual violation or offender, but also on behalf of organisations which, by filing applications for enforcement, wish to ensure better compliance with rules on certain subjects or which, in this manner, wish to compel the government to enforce compliance in areas in which violations are structurally ignored or where enforcement does not appear to have priority.