Horror Dog Shelter in Bihać, Bosnia


On July 12th 2013, I was informed about another horrific situation for dogs in a ‘shelter’ in Gorjevac, Bihać, in the north-western part of Bosnia and Herzegovina. I made a post about the horrendous conditions of this shelter in the AWAB Facebook group and a number of people rallied around to contact IFAWFour Paws and WVS.

1003457_558748954189914_2004992413_nThis shelter was built in June 2012 on and near a landfill, offering space for 100 dogs in 30 pens with small wooden kennels. Conditions were reported as inhumane as soon as December, 2012.

There is no water (just a tank that freezes in winter and with no pressure in other seasons) and no electricity. Outside the pens, roughly 300 dogs roam freely. Since no food is provided for these free-roaming dogs, they survive by scavenging garbage from the landfill.

The dogs that live in the pens are given very little to eat, and meals often consist of just dry bread as food. We have also been informed that cannibalism has occurred among starving dogs. They are not sterilised and there is no vet on hand for any medical necessity.

941211_558749130856563_2073456853_nOn August 10, 2013 an animal activist in Bosnia informed us that family members who live and work in Germany visited Bihać shelter early this month:

They carried a bag of dog food with them and some sausages. What they found at the shelter can be best described with word horror. The shelter was not attended. There were no workers there, the place looked abandoned by people, their assessment was that they saw around 150 dogs. The main shelter gate was open and many dogs roamed freely around. There were many dogs on landfill that is near the shelter that were going through garbage looking for food. They could not find and see any food or water for dogs at the shelter.

1003996_558749090856567_46676316_nMany dogs were closed and locked in kennel houses, cages and they had no water or food inside, many looked emaciated and some were too weak to walk. They saw many dead puppies and corpses of dead dogs inside and outside the shelter. Fecal matter was all over the place… When they began to feed dogs, the dogs started to fight each other over food and the bag of food that they spilled on ground was devoured by hungry dogs within minutes, at that moment my cousin was already weeping and sobbing and her husband told her that it was good time for them to leave. He forgot to take pictures unfortunately, they remembered that they should have taken photos of the place when they were already at home. CONCLUSION IS: Nothing has changed at Bihać shelter since July 12.

On August 6, 2013, volunteers from the local animal welfare organisation SPAS brought food and fresh water for the dogs in the shelter. The local TV station RTVBihac has a short report about it here.


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December 5, 2012
Horor u azilu za pse u Bihaću Horror shelter for dogs in Bihać 

Excerpt in English and two photographs from this article:

“…Today’s visit to asylum does not reveal a picture of a European city that humanely deals with the problem of stray dogs.

One look at the city and it is clear the society is not mature enough to be able to distinguish right from wrong.

15 July 2013
Azil “smrti” u Bihaću (Foto+Video) “Death”shelter of Bihac (Photo + Video) (Serbo-Croatian)

bihac_4_141824810Another article about this ‘shelter’ was published on the Bosnian news portal krajina.ba, but is currently unavailable:

Donosimo “nove” fotografije: Ko je kriv za “Azil smrti” na Gorjevcu? / New” photos: Who is to blame for the “Shelter of death” on Gorjevcu? 17/07/2013
There is a web-cache version here (in Serbo Croatian)

However we managed to get a translation into English:

Well known Doctor Zekerijah Ika Alagić, better known by his nickname Doctor Mengele than by his real name, who is director for life of JP Veterinary Station Bihać (“JP Veterinarska stanica Bihać”) and founder of private company “Veterinar” is the person most responsible for creation of the dog shelter in Gorjevac, Bihać. He was the man who had the idea to build it there. The idea arose so that the director for life, under auspices of his brother (politician) Mahmut Alagic, could strengthen his private business and sales of Eukanuba dog food that he is the main distributor and importer of for the whole Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Zekerijah Alagic has been director of the JP veterinary station for over 20 years where he just renewed his mandate for another 4 years, 20 years have not been enough for him.

The shelter Gorjevac was built without any consent, without construction plan and it was located on an area that is source of contagious diseases for both dogs and people (landfill). 


You can see it on the photos for yourself.

Gorjevac shelter was supposed to be funded and built with 65,000.00 BAM (32,500.00 €), we ask openly, does what you see on the photos cost 65,000.00 BAM?

The Gorjevac death camp was built on top of a mass grave where euthanized animals were buried: domestic animals that were sick …

bihac_16_932536796 According to information we obtained, Cantonal veterinary, sanitary and construction inspections know about the problems at the location but nothing has been done about it. Cantonal prosecutor has received documented reports about criminal actions of Zekerijah Alagić and his abuse of dogs at Gorjevo. The reports are getting moldy in drawers of the prosecutors.
Meanwhile things got worse in Gorjevo, cannibalism has occurred among dogs because dogs are kept there without food and water and because hygiene and sanitary conditions are catastrophic, the photos taken in Gorjevo death camp can clearly confirm it.

Doctor Mengele did everything for his personal gain, he did it to make quick profit. He claims that each dog at the Gorjevac shelter eats 3.5 BAM worth of dog food every day (1.75 Euros). If there are 100 dogs at the shelter you can easily calculate how much it altogether costs.

There is more: JP Veterinary Station has ordered dog food from Private firm VETERINAR and invoices were sent to Bihac City Hall. (All invoices /bills available to internet portal editors, this means that Doctor Mengele was buying food for the shelter from his own company. )

It’s evident that a few people defy the laws and the authorities do nothing about it.

Is trade in politics, that Alagić brothers are brokers of, worth more than someone’s life? It seems so, because Doctor Mengele remains inviolable veterinary ruler of lives of innocent dogs that pay the highest price with their lives.


Stop the inhumane treatment of the animals at the dog shelter in Bihać
Tell the Municipality of Bihać, Bosnia & Herzegovina to stop killing stray dogs and cats


Animal welfare organization in Bihać: SPAS
Facebook Group
Facebook Page (English)
President of SPAS, Rosic Senad 

Related Posts:
Dog Shelters in Bosnia: A Complex Situation
Horror Camps for Animals in Bosnia
Concentration Camp for Man’s Best Friend
Concentration Camp for Man’s Best Friend PART TWO
Mass Graves Found Near Dog “Shelter”

Part One 
Part Two
Part Three



Funds are needed not only to help individual rescues and to help us keep safe the 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: donations@awabosnia.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.

21 thoughts on “Horror Dog Shelter in Bihać, Bosnia

    • Lesley – no. There are no funds or facilities to rescue these dogs. AWAB and In Memory of Vucko is run by one person: myself and I live in England. There are individual animal activists in Bosnia trying to do what they can, but again, no funds or facilities. To save a dog and get it off the streets or out of a shelter it costs up to 120 euros a month and this does not include any medical treatment. The general attitude towards dogs in Bosnia is very negative, so finding foster or long term homes is almost impossible. To bring them out of Bosnia to homes in Europe is possible, but very expensive. The local animal welfare organisation is SPAS (see links in the post to their Facebook pages) and they could do with all the help they can get. You can email them at spas.bih@gmail.com . Also you can try contacting Dogs Trust UK and IFAW and Four Paws again about this particular shelter:

      This is just one of many many such shelters in Bosnia. Some are worse.

  1. But what can we do – we keep seeing these heartbreaking photos and feel so helpless – we can send donations but the fact that this is so rife is horrendous. Please let us know if we can help in other ways too – I know we write letter sometimes but can we do more remotely? Thanks to all those guys out there reporting back – it can’t be easy – I’m crying now only have seen the photos – to see it or real must be horrific.

    • Thanks Kim. We hope to visit several shelters in Bosnia and document what is going on there. Funds are needed for this, about 60 euros per ‘visit’ to cover petrol costs. Food can be brought as well if donations are sent in for this. Jajce, Foča, Bratunac, Banja Luka are just 4 places that have horrific shelters and could be visited, photographs taken for media.

      On the Action To Take page https://inmemoryofvucko.org/action-to-take/ – if you scroll down there are detials of people in the European Parliament that you can send letters to, also the details of the OIE World Organization for Animal Health who you can write to. Thanks so much!

    • Hi, we -me and two other volunteers from Germany- went to visit the shelter in Bihac on friday. We got back today. A lot of beautiful and very sweet dogs, but the suffering is unbearable. We fed them but they started fighting over the food and it was just horrible to watch. I cried the entire time we were there. We want to rescue dogs but in order to do so, we will need people to take care of them here in Germany until we can find them a forever home. So if anyone has relatives in Germany, or Austria, and they would like to help, tell them to get in touch with me. There were so many puppies there…and the only thing they were fed was dry bread, which obviously they couldnt eat. Its just wrong what these beautiful souls have to go through.

  2. Who funded this? I am sure whoever funded this Gorjevac shelter would be very interested to see what they got for their 32,500.00 € .
    Does the donor know about this?
    If I funded this disgrace there would be hell to pay. There would be an investigation and subsequent lawsuit.

    • Vicki Russell,sorry my English is bad, but pleas can you explain me about this money you mention? I’m one of 8 volunteers who going last 8 month in shelter Gorjevac Bihac.We have some donation from Germany and Slovenia but it’s not enough. We have problem with water , especially in winter because everything is frozen. Also we have problem with car , to drive volunteers to shelter. Nobody from volunteers don’t work. But we giving everything what we can to go there to feed them, to give them all our love. We will never give up from our paws,but we still need all support and help. For more information about our work in shelter please contact me on fb Safija Karabegovic.

      • Safija, I think Vicki just means that from the article in Bosnian, a lot of money was supposed to be used for the shelter, but of course it wasn’t – as with so many public ‘shelters’ – the money never gets to the dogs, and they usually only survive because of good people – volunteers – like you. If you have a paypal account please let us know and I can put it on this article.

      • Sandra Jensen I will get soon my PayPal account and I will put acount here .Thank to all who want to help our shelter. I take pictures of all donations ( food, money, …)and put on my fb profile. I want to put some pictures here but I can’t ( I don’t now how )

  3. If there is little to no regard for animals in Bosnia-Herzegovina why do they even bother with the charade of building shelters. Sadly, I guess it’s all wrapped up in corruption and money.

  4. why are humans less and less considerate towards animals? Money rules everywhere and animals need a status to be protected from sadists and degenerates people who torture them!


  6. im from bosnia, and there are to much wild dogs on street,they are dangerous and bite peaple on the street, and to make a castration for all this dogs is just no money, humans have a hard time here just becous bad and corrupt politics, we all love anymals, special dogs but u can not take all the street dogs in your home to save them… it’s to much, it’s hartbreaking to see this on pictures,,
    sorry for my bad eng

    • It is absolutely true the dogs cannot all be homed. But there is one solution: Catch, neuter and release. So many world wide studies show that CNR programs are far more effective than removing the strays and killing them.

      • I’m from Bihac and I’m one of 8 volunteers who going in shelter last 8 month 3 time on the week. Situation is much better in shelter now.Dog’s are better they don’t fight any more for food, we give them all our love and attention to ich dog.When we go there we realise them from the cages we worked on socialisation on ich dog.
        Things going better, but still we have more problems.Wather is big problem a specially in winter when everything is frozen. Then we give them snow . Also we have problem with driving volunteers to shelter.Nobody from volunteers don’t work don’t gave a job. Everything what we doing there we doing how much we can and with love.We never let that dog’s to suffer again.We need support for our work to we can do more for our paws.
        If you want more information please contact me on fb Safija Karabegovic.
        Sorry about my English.
        With all respect
        Volunteers of shelter Gorjevac Bihac

  7. This is BEYOND disgusting!!
    Some animal welfare group there, some overseas group/agency should use their statusexposethis this place to the WORLD.
    The best way to affect change in a city, a region, is to threaten exposure, their tourist business, etc.
    Information needs to be gotten to MASSIVELY deluge the city & regional authorities with e-mails, Facebook messages, etc.
    The actor Goran V. (I forget his surname) but he’s from this country. He helps at Dubrovnik. Someone needs to write him & make him aware of THIS HELL on earth for the poor dogs of this area

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