A CRY FOR HELP: Why It’s Critical The BiH Animal Welfare Law Is Not Changed

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“Those who are silent, their silence makes them accomplices to evil.”

The documentary ‘KINOFIL‘ was made by Damir Janeček in 2010. It has been banned in Bosnia-Herzegovina as it shows the truth of what has been happening for strays. If the proposed amendments to the Animal Welfare Act are voted in, what you see in the film below is how it will be once again in Bosnia-Herzegovina, essentially legalising the torture and massacre of dogs. 

As described by Damir: “This film is a cry for help, an attempt to stop the suffering and pain of innocent animals that have been inflicted in Bosnia and Herzegovina for years.
(Kinofil – Damir Janecek Facebook page)

Please watch the film — in particular you will understand better the horrendous situation for animal activists in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Yes there are very difficult images to watch, but even if you close your eyes for these, there is much else that is important to see and understand, for example the situation with vets in the country and why some rescues die because they are not given adequate or soon-enough treatment.

Please do not turn away, please watch: it is on this page – http://www.cultureunplugged.com/documentary/watch-online/play/13112/Kinofil-or-Savers-of-Life

The documentary largely follows the activities of animal activist Velja Ivanišević and his animal welfare organisation, SOS, the Association of Citizens for Prevention of Cruelty Against Animals. SOS was the first animal welfare organization in BiH, founded 1998 by Mr. Ivanišević and his wife Silva. The activities of SOS are now minimized since its founders left Sarajevo 2 years ago because of pressure from BiH officials and death treats by some citizens, specially after Kinofil was filmed.

Activists still use the detailed research and documentation collected by Mr. Ivanišević. As one activist says: “Velja tried to prevent cruelty to animals, report animal abuse to police and the media in the time before Facebook and before the Animal Welfare Act was implemented. I miss Velja so much because he was the teacher. Everything is harder and more complicated when you are in a position to be a teacher.

Please note that the killing of stray dogs and cats has always been a criminal offence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Such actions represented a violation of the Criminal Act, and yet no one has ever been charged.

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 21.41.27 Information on how to help the activists is in ACTION TO TAKE and also, please click on the the links below to ‘related posts’, there are detailed instructions and draft letters to send. Essentially we are asking you to write letters to the BiH authorities, to EU MEPs, to the EU Eurogroup and to Bosnia-Herzegovina Embassies to demand that the Animal Welfare Act be implemented, rather than chipping away at it by allowing amendments that encourage atrocities strays have had to suffer for years.

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Please take 30 minutes out of your day to help the strays of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT. Further amendments to the law can be proposed by 7th November and the second reading of the proposed changes is scheduled for 20th November.

If proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Act become effective, euthanasia would be allowed to be performed within 15 days from a stray dog’s arrival in a shelter. While this may sound like an effective way to deal with a burgeoning stray animal population, typically in BiH ‘euthanasia’ is performed by clubbing, injections of bleach, and other similarly torturous methods. Of course, there are more humane, internationally acceptable and proven methods to control the stray dog population, in particular Trap-Neuter-Return.

Dogs Trust completed a sterilisation program in June 2013, sterilizing 3000 dogs. Also there have been government funded sterilisations programs implemented in BiH. If the new amendments to the Animal Welfare Act are implemented, it’s highly likely these dogs will be taken to ‘shelters’ and ‘euthanised’, a complete waste of money. Also, please note that funds poured into government shelters are commonly misused, with none of the funds actually going to the care of the dogs. 

Right now Praca Shelter in Sarajevo is undergoing investigation regarding how funds – BAM 1,000,000.00 (€500,000 or $ 700,000) – were used (recent visits to this shelter once again show absolutely horrific conditions). It is common knowledge amongst animal activists in Bosnia Herzegovina that public shelters are used for money laundering.

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If the proposed changes to the Animal Welfare Law are implemented, it will simply mean it is easier for the “shelters” to continue an influx of dogs, killing them in the cheapest way possible (not humanely) and using the funds elsewhere, not for the dogs; it will mean a continued cover-up of how dogs are actually treated in these shelters and will give the ‘green light’ for generalised abuse of strays in the country.

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As stated in other posts, the activists need our support with donations to help them in the next days to campaign. Any amount will help, no matter how small. There is a YouCaring fundraiser especially for this:  https://www.youcaring.com/kill-law.

Also, please sign and share the petitions.



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 . 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.

13 thoughts on “A CRY FOR HELP: Why It’s Critical The BiH Animal Welfare Law Is Not Changed

  1. Have signed Petitions and written emails to all on the list a few times. I am in a constant state of dread for these poor dogs………….

  2. I cannot believe how these so called “Dog Catchers”, are who they claim to be when they thrive on killing these innocent animals. This film made me cry that I couldn’t see straight. I would one day love to make the biggest donation or go out myself and build a sanctuary for these helpless animals who DO NOT DESERVE THIS, this makes me sick how this is the 21st century and these people are using medevil style torture for killing dogs. Someone has to do something to stop this sick and madness act, if I could I would. I will pray for these dogs who are dying agonizing deaths at the hands of the so called Humans who are the ones that should be helping them, NOT KILLING THESE ANIMALS.

  3. Life is so very precious and for these poor innocent creatures who have been born into this world to be subjected to such torture and pain is beyond comprehension. This wicked killing has to be stopped. Laws must be in place to protect these animals. There is no justification for euthanasia in this day and age. There is a solution and the Bosnian government has to act and put a stop to this utter waste of life.

  4. Janet pretty much already wrote what I wanted to write…..It was very hard to watch, but I wanted more information. I could NOT believe that even after they took the dogs away to that remote place ( is this not what they claim they want, getting rid of the animals?) they went after them and attacked the dogs and those helpers without any reason? They not only threaten to kill animals but also their fellow Humans, just because they are helping those poor dogs? Unbelievable!! There is some serious Education in order. It is not only the “Dog Catchers” but a lot of the villagers and most shocking to me Veterinarians?!, who did not arrive in the 21 st century. Also especially Law Enforcement or why is the existing law not being enforced?!!
    I will do whatever I can and hope it will make a difference at some point. I know it will not be easy and it will not be tomorrow, but at least I try. And if enough think so too, then I believe there will be a Ray of Hope in those animals future.

  5. I am so upset I cannot stop crying O M G how wicked so very Evil and very cruel how could these people commit this crime I cannot come to terms with this oh dear God please protect these poor innocent animals

  6. I feel so sorry for the suffering animals. It`s an agonizing cruel death to part this inhumane world. You of all people are not living in the stone ages anymore but it seems to suit you to fall behind with any animals welfare standards. To me it looks you are thousands of years behind any modern civilization. I disrespect people who do not care for their animals. I utterly disrespect the Leaders of your country not educating you Citizens in what it right or wrong. These animals suffering is a result of this failing Government to implement any animal welfare acts to protect the four-legged fury friends. These animals are far more worth than anybody in your country abusing, mistreating, being cruel and inhumane to them. It says a lot about this Country and I will NOT Respect anybody but the ones who try to save these poor creatures. You deserve a medal.
    Antje Struthmann


  8. I do believe your country has to many homeless children living on the streets, I think maybe you need to take them and replace all the cats and dogs that you kill with them. How does that sound to you? Not so good? Well, what you’re doing doesn’t sound so good to me and many other people and you really have to stop it. There are other ways of managing the over population of animals beside Killing them. Just as there is a way of controlling human over population.

    I’m sure if you just take the time and make the effort you can switch to a much better humane method of handling the problem. I will do everything I can to fight what you are doing to the dogs and cats and any other animals that I hear of because you are a very cruel backward country and I find your way of living disgusting.

    I will sign petitions, sanctions and anything else necessary to stop what you are doing along with millions of others like me. We love our animals, strays or not and won’t allow you to treat you’re the way you do.
    Cheryl Williams

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