The following is a translation of an article published yesterday on Bh-News.com:
Four mass graves have been found around Praca shelter
The NGO Iskra has made a statement at a press-conference yesterday.
In the last seven days, dog shelter Prača has been in the media focus once again and all because of the incident which took place at the shelter’s premises, betwen Amela Turalić, the Shelter’s director and the members of the NGO Iskra.
Due to this event, the NGO Iskra has made a press conference which we are now presenting in full. The press release is signed by Elmedina Devlić, the president of the NGO Iskra.
“In this manner we would like to make some clarifications and to shed some light upon the situation which developed and is in the media frenzy during these last six days, along with putting a stop to the spread of vicious lies and rumours spread by the Shelter’s director Amela Turalić against our family, our NGO and the Shelter.
Her statements are unsubstantiated and undocumented but nevertheless have been published in a variety of media coverage. We will most certainly be filing a lawsuit against her, but at this moment it’s much more important to shed some light upon her work at the Shelter and to explain the exact reasons which lead us to react in the manner to stop the endless catastrophic situation in this Shelter from continuing.
The truth is that the company “Murai Komerc” (one of three owners and the investor of Prača Shelter) is the legal and responsible entity for the shelter from the day the shelter opened until to this day. The company hired Miss Amela Turalić to be the Shelter’s director and manager and has given her the responsibility to take care of the Shelter’s premises and the welfare of all dogs that are brought there. as the co-owners of the Shelter (a signed copy of this Agreement has been attached to this press release) and as the NGO which signed the contract with the “Murai Komerc” company (a signed copy of this Contract has also been attached to this press release), have been warned by the Shelter’s workers on numerous occasions of various irregularities conducted at the Shelter by its director Amela Turalić.
We have tried to talk to the director and perhaps get some clear insight into all those stories, but Turalić wouldn’t answer our phone calls nor was she every willing to arrange a meeting to see us.
On April 15th 2013, we came in front of the Shelter’s premises, so we could once again try and clarify with the director these irregularities, but after seeing us she quickly phoned the police and started yelling and screaming at us. When the police came, we showed them our documentation which states that we are the co-owners of this Shelter and have a legal right to be here and the director Amela Turalić was escorted by the police out of the Shelter (there is a written report at the Police Department of Prača).
As Shelter’s legal co-owners, we have then decided to make a comprehensive inquiry of the work done by the Shelter’s director, which later showed:
1. In the Shelter and around it, there are 4 mass graves each of them containing around 30-170 corpses of dogs (this information was provided by the Shelter’s workers). There are also 1-5 smaller mass graves shattered across the forest situated down the road which leads to Gorazde. The dog-corpses were also thrown into holes near the river so we can’t say with certainty just how many corpses are left there, nor from exactly what type of diseases the dogs died from and what consequences will this all have on the water and overall environment. With this act, the director violated the Federal Environmental Law of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Acts 11, 18, 104 and numerous others acts from this and other Laws.
2. None of the dog-corpses possess any medical/veterinarian documentation, no history of health, the way in which he/she died, an obligatory blood test (because the animals are buried at the Shelter’s premises), and pose as a serious health threat to all other animals and humans in the Shelter as well as the human and animal population surrounding the Shelter, violating directly all State and Federal Veterinary Laws.
3. In the Shelter’s cold storage facility, we found 5 tons of rotten food which was meant to be used to feed the dogs.
4. In one of the Shelter’s rooms we also found a broad range of chocolate cookies which were meant to be used as dog food.
5. They have spayed/neutered puppies of 2 months of age.
6. The wounds of other spayed dogs are infected.
7. Due to the fact that the Shelter was taking more dogs than they can handle or feed, the dogs would usually kill other dogs and eventually eat the rotten dog corpses.
8. According to various testimonies from the locals living in this area or near it, the vast majority of the dogs were set loose from the Shelter and started attacking their livestock or were shot down by the local hunters in the forests ( the surrounding area of the Shelter is a legal hunting area of wild game).
9. The director Amela Turalić has forbidden the entrance of any “unsuitable” Animal Welfare organizations which were not privately associated with her or close to her.
10. The “Murai Komerc” Company is the investor and the owner of the constructed facility which takes the rent from the Canton Sarajevo, the City of Sarajevo and various other Municipalities . The Company is therefore the responsible but is not the owner of the dogs there nor of the numerous donations which came for the dogs from ordinary foreign or domestic citizens. No one, not even the Shelter’s co-owners nor the various NGOs were allowed to see the Shelter’s documentation, work, donations, bank accounts, cash-register or any other documentation.
11. In the night of April 17th 2013, the director Amela Turalić came back to the Shelter and took away all the donated drugs and medication.
We also must state that from the streets of Sarajevo Canton, an estimated 1.500 dogs were brought into the Shelter Prača.
According to the Shelter’s director Amela Turalić, around 500 dogs are at the Shelter and 150 dogs have been adopted (for those adopted dogs we have not found any details or documentation or any other info to whom and where were any of them adopted), this means that around 850 or more dogs are scattered around the forests and in these mass graves. During our visits at the Shelter, the police have been informed of this misconduct as well as the Municipality and the veterinary inspection (Edin Alagic, the Veterinary Inspector) and they have all made reports of the situation at and around the Shelter.
We therefore ask the relevant institutions and NGOs to help us making this Shelter a better place, with a normalized protocol and a much better director.”
This is PART THREE of posts made about ‘Prihvatilište KS Prača’ in Sarajevo, commonly known as ‘Praca’. Part one and two below:
Concentration Camp for Man’s Best Friend
Concentration Camp for Man’s Best Friend PART TWO
Please note that the situation regarding dog shelters in Bosnia is very complex. One cannot attribute blame to any single person for the shocking conditions and events that occur in these shelters. They are a part of a general problem occurring in Bosnia where many aspects of society are built on systems of corrupt values and the wrongdoings of many.
Construction Company Invested One Million Dollars in this “shelter”
Prača is a private shelter built by Murai Komerc (a construction company managed by Muris Alić) with contracts with Sarajevo municipalities to take in dogs from the street (on a per dog basis) and to provide them with appropriate care.
Murai Komerc claimed to invest around 750,000 Euros/1,000,000 USD (1,500,000.00 BAM) in building this shelter in March of 2011. It is our understanding that the shelter was never finished as planned, and that the building was highly unsuitable for the housing of dogs. In the current economic situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina this is a very large investment in a non-profit project which according to Bosnian laws does not provide any tax reduction.
Municipalities Owe Money
Muris Alic has recently been in the news stating he will have to close the shelter and return the dogs to the street as funds promised from municipal mayors (800,000 KM/400,000 Euros/500,000 USD) for the maintenance of the shelter not been paid.
(The following articles are in Serbo-Croatian: More than 500 dogs from a shelter will be back on the street / Asylum cannot wait for the first anniversary?)
As quoted in my post last November, Horror Camps for Animals in Bosnia, an animal advocate in northern Bosnia states: “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.”
Director: Midhat Hadžiomerović, DVM
Address: ul. Maršala Tita 2, 73000 Goražde, BiH
Tel: ++ 387 38 228 639
Fax: ++ 387 38 228 641
NOTE – this email does not seem to be working, although it is the correct one listed on the government website. We will try to find another and will update as soon as we can.
Funds are needed not only to help individual rescues and to help us keep safe the 20 rescued dogs we are sponsoring but also to continue our advocacy work in Bosnia, uncovering the truth about what is happening there.
On our sister site, Animal Welfare Advocates for Bosnia, you can set up a monthly donation via PayPal, or if you want to make a one-off donation, 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.
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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.