The conditions entirely inhumane in most if not all state shelters. An animal welfare activist in Northern Bosnia states:
“There is a dog pound in another municipality that is really not better than Hreša and they kill anywhere from 30-80 dogs there every month. As of two weeks ago communal/municipal police banned activists from entering the dog pound and helping dogs there and they ordered that at least 30 dogs should be “euthanized” there every month. Dog pounds are used to launder money from public budgets and they don’t want activists to poke around and witness how dogs are mistreated or abused at the dog pounds that they dare to call dog asylums/shelters. Population control and promotion of spaying and neutering as well as implementation of the animal welfare law is not in their interest because they want and need constant flow of new dogs through the dog pounds so that they can justify the funds spent each month from the budget. This is common knowledge amongst Bosnian animal welfare activists“
In the case of the shelter in Hreša Jelena Paunović of Život BiH and other activists were not only prevented from taking a severely emaciated, suffering dog to veterinary care (see photograph above) but were violently threatened by the shelter manager. A Serbian friend who wishes to remain anonymous has stated she heard money had been stolen from the Hreša shelter funds during financial pre election manoeuvres.
I have access to images from the state dog shelter in Banja Luka, the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These images show dogs that were killed by injections of bleach and a dog killed by other dogs and dead dogs left amongst the living.
Banja Luka Shelter
Here is a video of images from Banja Luka (text in Serbo-Croatian).
The smaller of two state shelters in Sarajevo is called Gladno Polje. Senaid Memić, one of the municipality mayors in Sarajevo (Ilidža municipality), signed a contract with the Agricultural cooperative (website http://upizzilidza.com/) to build a shelter on land owned by the Agricultural cooperative. It was to house about 120 dogs. The land for the shelter belongs to the Agricultural cooperative. The municipality supplied money for the construction work and volunteers were brought in to care for the dogs, however volunteers also provided their own funds for the construction and they were involved in cleaning up one of the buildings that existed on the land: a chicken farm.
The Director of the agricultural cooperative (Almir Džanković ) accepted the contract with the municipality without the agreement of the volunteers and employees who would be ultimately responsible for the dogs welfare. Essentially, the employees were ‘given’ 120 dogs to take care of, with minimal wages and no funds to take care of the dogs.
Jelena Paunović attempted to interview Almir Džanković, the agricultural director, but he refused to answer any of her questions regarding who is actually responsible for the dogs and why no proper provision has been made for their welfare.
The municipality gives about 2 500 EUR every month to pay salaries for four full time employees and to pay water and other bills. The employees have no health insurance, their salaries are paid in cash, and they are not involved in the paying of bills so they don’t know what actually happens with the money.
There are about 200 dogs in and around the shelter. It’s impossible to know the exact number because people constantly leave strays in front of the shelter. There are big and small dogs, about 60 puppies, healthy and sick dogs.
There are several really big problems.
- There is no money for veterinary care
- There is no spay or neuter program
- There is no heating during the winter
- There is not enough dog food
The employees and volunteers at the shelter are actually beggars on social networks. If they collect donations, 200 EUR or even more – it means nothing. One vaccine for one dog for an infective disease costs 10 EUR, one basic veterinary exam costs 10 EUR, antibiotics 13 EUR and so on. Vets in Sarajevo will not see a dog without funds upfront, and thus many die.
Because there is no spay / neuter program, most of dogs are always in their cages and never go out.
When winter temperatures hit -20 to -30 degrees. In the Shelter, dogs sleep on the concrete or wet boards. Once they had beds made out of wood, but since the dogs are closed in for the most of the time, they have either eaten the wood or it has disintegrated due to the water used to clean the boxes. Volunteers and employees of the shelter constantly beg for old clothes to be donated to them. Dogs and especially puppies especially cannot live like this.
Jelena says: “We owe the greatest gratitude for the survival of the shelter and the dogs to Sanela Kotorić Etterle and Adnan Smailbegovic, who fight the most for everything dogs need.“
I have also seen images from the larger of two state shelters in Sarajevo, which show horrifically starving dogs. The situation is the same: no funds.
Regarding Hreša, the State Veterinary Office informed Dogs Trust in Bosnia a few days ago that the vet inspectorate responsible stated the shelter has been closed down by the local public utility company, even before the inspectorate had a chance to act, in an apparent effort to avoid possible legal sanctions.
Because there have been no prior inspection visits and because the shelter closed down before they could act now, the inspectorate couldn’t provide any more details.
Dogs Trust BiH state that they will continue following up on this, but as no result has, as far as I know, ever occurred regarding similar situations, I don’t hold up much hope.
In the meantime, the dogs in Gladno Polje desperately need food, veterinary care, and spaying and neutering.
The dogs rescued from Hreša need re-homing or sponsorship. Right now the monthly cost for the just the dogs rescued from Hreša is over 500 Euros (650 USD). And it is winter: there are over 10,000 strays in Sarajevo that Jelena and the other activists go out and feed or the dogs die – temperatures reach minus 30C.
Please help. I have drafted a letter for EU MEPs. I have a list of all EU MEPs email addresses. Go here for the letter and all information.
And please donate. If you have a specific issue you would like your donation to go to, please state it on the donation.
HOW TO HELP:
Please go to your PayPal account (or set one up, it’s very easy) and send the money to: firstname.lastname@example.org as a ‘gift’. Click on the image below to be taken to PayPal’s home page.
Or if you want to use the customised PayPal form, click the link below. However, a transaction fee and a percentage (2- 5.4%) will be deducted by PayPal for any contribution made.
If you want your contribution to go to a specific dog, please make a note in the PayPal comment box. If you wish to contribute via bank transfer or have other difficulties or questions, please go here.
This site is dedicated to Vučko. Read his story and don’t let him have suffered and died in vain. Please help the stray dogs and cats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The situation there is utterly dire, Vučko is but one amongst many horrifically abused animals. Go here to find out how to help them. Money is needed for food, medicine and foster housing. You can donate via PayPal and I then transfer the money to Bosnia. I can also give you the PayPal email address of my Bosnian animal welfare contacts if you prefer. Even just one dollar or one euro will help.