Here is the earlier story of Hreša: Part One - Part Two - Part Three - Part Four
Also see my post on shelters in general in Bosnia and Herzegovina: Horror Camps for Animals in Bosnia
As most of you know Hreša ‘shelter’ is open again and has been for some time now.
On Monday night activists went there to find 20 dogs in cages without heat (temperatures are well below freezing), with nothing to eat but scraps of old frozen bread. Any water available was frozen. Activists were not allowed to provide food. However, they managed to rescue some of the dogs, including one mother dog and five of her puppies. Four of her puppies were frozen to death. She had given birth on frozen concrete.
Ibrahim Hadžibajrić, Mayor of Stari Grad Municipality in Sarajevo, has stated he has signed an agreement with Hreša Municipality to send dogs from Stari Grad to Hreša ‘Shelter’ and that 30,000 KM (15,000 EUR/ 20,000 USD) have been allocated for this ‘project’, ‘renting’ the Hreša shelter. The contract as yet is still not signed, however.
Although Ibrahim Hadžibajrić denies that the goal behind this agreement is elimination of dogs, note the following: there are over 11,000 strays in Sarajevo; Hreša is in a part of Bosnia (Republika Srpska) which allows killing of dogs in shelters, whereas in Sarajevo it is not allowed to do this.
The Republika Srpska law states that any dog in a shelter that is not homed after 30 days may be euthanized, it does not say it must be euthanized. Only dogs who are suffering in extreme agony, who are aggressive, very old, or sick beyond help and similar must be euthanised by law. However it is common practice in this municipality to mark perfectly healthy dogs as being sick or injured and euthanize them on the day of arrival to the shelter or few days later, especially when there are many dogs arriving and they start running out of space. Also, over six years old can be considered ‘very old’. Furthermore, the dogs are kept in such poor conditions they usually become weak and sick within a week and so fulfil the requirements.
Note that “euthanization” practices in this country include injections of bleach.
Last year animal activists from Sarajevo visited Hreša ‘shelter’ several times and dogs just “disappeared” and employees told them they had been killed, and also that pedigree dogs were kidnapped and held for ransom in the shelter.
Although pressure from animal activists inside and outside Bosnia brought about an investigation by the State Veterinary Office, we have heard absolutely nothing about the result of this investigation. In November Dogs Trust Bosnia stated they will “monitor the progress of this investigation and subsequent intervention and where this stalls or is insufficient we will act.” We will be following up with Dogs Trust as we have as yet had no updates.
THE GOOD NEWS IS: Daliborka Colic, who runs a Bosnian/German rescue organisation (http://sosvergessenepfoten.de) has secured 5000 Euros to pay for legal fees involved in taking action against the manager of the shelter and any authorities involved. Daliborka says that the authorities can take dogs to Hreša but activists will simply go and bring the dogs back to Sarajevo each time. Activists will constantly monitor the conditions in Hreša and will inform the media. Daliborka will also rally her German friends and organizations to get involved as much as possible.
I am awaiting news of how we can help Daliborka. Please return for updates.
Many of you have commented on the posts here about Hreša and about the situation for strays in general. We are all outraged at what is happening, but is important to realise that Bosnia is very different to the United States or the United Kingdom and similar countries.
To quote from someone living in Sarajevo: “Please imagine a different reality. I’m in Sarajevo and I can tell you many people here are living on 45 euros a month or less. 18% of the population are below the (low) poverty line and 30% are on or just above it, yet many costs are nearly as high as the UK. Many people cannot afford to pay their heating bills, or for their local authority services, which are owed millions. There is no social security. There are 11,000 dogs on the streets in Sarajevo, a lot dumped because their owners cannot afford to keep them. Now in winter they wander around in packs looking for food and some are (sadly) aggressive, especially when cold and hungry. Many people are frightened of dogs, especially when they are in packs. We’ve seen people in tears, scared stiff of walking past them. It becomes a political issue, but the authorities have no money for housing such large numbers, which are growing daily.
There is nearly 50% unemployment and there are people desperate enough to earn a few hundred euros who’ll kill dogs. On the other side, there are wonderful people here who give as much time and more money than you can imagine to help, and organisations outside Bosnia (such as AWAB) who help a lot too. But we’re helping a few hundred if we’re lucky. We’d welcome good ideas to solve the problem.”
Please sign and share the following three petitions:
Demand Investigation into Horror Shelter in Hresa, Bosnia
Protect the stray dogs instead of killing them
Stop the slaughter of stray dogs in Sarajevo, Bosnia
News Articles: (Serbo-Croatian, but you can use Google Translate)
HOW TO HELP
Funds are needed not only to help individual rescues and to help us keep safe the 26 rescued dogs we are sponsoring but also to continue our advocacy work in Bosnia, uncovering the truth about what is happening there.
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 or cause, 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. Even just one dollar or one euro will help.