Free-living cats and the cemetery - legal opinion

Are free-living cats allowed in the cemetery? Is it allowed to feed them there and build houses for them? is it legal to destroy such houses? Is it legal to stand that "free-living cats are guaranteed the right ...

  • Free-living cats

We recently touched upon the subject of living and caring for free-living cats in cemeteries.

We were interested in the case by the user of our website, who described the situation when the Sanepid prohibited feeding free-living cats and removed the cat booths. The event took place in one of the cemeteries in Łódź (where there are about 4 free-living cats). We wrote more about it here.

The PWSSE referred us to the County Sanitary and Epidemiological Station, in the area of ​​which the cemetery is located. PSSE wrote back to us:

PPIS in Łódź fully supports the opinion that "all citizens of the Republic of Poland are obliged to take care of animals, in particular municipal offices, and that as part of this care, free-living (wild) cats are guaranteed the right to live and live next to humans" with the proviso that, in the opinion of the Poviat Sanitary Inspector in Łódź, being next to a man means being next to a man's place of residence and not next to his burial place.
The position of the County Sanitary Inspector in Łódź regarding the existence and feeding of cats in the cemetery has not changed. The cemetery is not the right place for this kind of activity. Pursuant to Art. 2 (2) of the Act on Cemeteries and Burying the Dead (Journal of Laws of 2011, No. 118, item 687, as amended): "religious cemeteries are maintained and managed by religious associations". In this particular case, the Archdiocese of Łódź is responsible for the sanitary condition.

We wrote back:


Thanks for your reply. It does not fully satisfy us.
Can we ask for the legal basis (law) on the basis of which they issued
Your opinion? Is it the opinion of the national Sanepid?
The provincial station did not tell us anything about it - we were sent to

The regulations quoted in your letter say nothing about the existence of savages
animals at the place of burial, whether or not to feed them or prohibit such
We remind you that we are talking here not about tame homeless cats, but about cats
free-living or wild - in the light of the Act on the protection of animals they have
same laws as jackdaws, rooks, owls, mice, bats and sparrows -
Following this line of reasoning, trees should be removed from cemeteries, because they are
a shelter and a canteen for many wild animals, present after all at
cemeteries. Do they also pose a threat from the point of view of the Sanepid, a
if so, what exactly? Are there any prescriptive letters
catching wild animals from cemeteries? And how to do it in practice?
(bird net over the cemetery?) Or a greater threat
they are free-living cats, under the care (including veterinary) of kind people
im people, larger than not subject to any veterinary control
other wild animals?

We will be grateful for your reply.
On our part, we are still exploring the topic, because it is important - especially in the period

Best Regards

In response, we received a letter:

The State Poviat Sanitary Inspector in Łódź informs that there are no regulations regulating the existence of wild animals in the cemeteries, because it is obvious that the cemetery is used for the burial of bodies or remains.
The PPIS in Łódź did not suggest in any of his magazines the removal of wild animals or birds from cemeteries, but in his opinion, creating special conditions for them (booths, feeding) undoubtedly disturbs the natural mode of living of these animals and favors their accumulation in cemeteries.
PPIS in Łódź informs that this letter is the last one in the case.

In the meantime, we turned to the VIVA Foundation! - Action for Animals asking for an opinion on this matter.

Here is the legal opinion we received:

advocate Office

Dorota Dąbrowska


ul. Z. Młynarski 3, 30-135 Kraków, mobile: 694 74 00 74


Krakow, November 1, 2011


At the request of the Foundation International Movement for Animals Viva !:

are free-living cats allowed in the cemetery? Is it allowed to feed them there and build houses for them? is it legal to destroy such houses? Is it lawful to stand according to which "free-living cats are guaranteed the right to live and be next to humans", while "being next to humans means being next to people's places of residence and not next to places where they are buried"?

the following answer is given:

There are no provisions in the Polish legal system that would prohibit the presence of free-living cats in cemeteries, feeding them in these places or building houses for them.

From the content of art. 21 of the Animal Protection Act stipulates that free-living animals, including free-living cats, should be provided with conditions for development and free existence. No provision of the Animal Protection Act or any provision contained in another legal act restricts the existence of free-living animals only to the environment of humans ("being next to humans"), and even more so does not create legal grounds for such an interpretation of the phrase "being next to humans" that would limit the meaning of of this concept only to the places where people live.

The destruction of cat houses situated in the cemetery and the destruction of places where cats are fed, especially in winter, may be considered a crime of abusing animals referred to in Art. 35 sec. 1 of the Animal Protection Act.

Dorota Dąbrowska


From the editorial office:

We will emphasize what is important - the foundation's volunteers and cat lovers fight for the rights of free-living cats, but also systematically sterilize wild cats in order to fight the homelessness of animals and prevent their numbers from growing.

Why booths and cat canteens in the cemetery and not outside its fence? A prosaic reason - because they will serve cats longer there, they will not be damaged by vandals. The cemetry shelter the dead and the living.

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