ANTI KILL-LAW FIGHT – HOW TO HELP, PART THREE

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I have been asked by the lead activists in Bosnia-Herzegovina to request that the following letters be written and sent by Friday the 15th of November or earlier (the Constitutional-Legal Committee of the House of Representatives in BiH will initiate debate on the proposed law and submit any amendments on the 14th November).

Letters need to be sent from UK, EU and USA to your UK/USA Embassies in Sarajevo requesting action from their side in persuading the BiH Parliament not to vote in the new amendments to the Animal Welfare Act. We need to have as many letters as possible sent to the embassies by Friday. I know some of you have already done this, but please, do it again.

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Below is one draft letter. Please sign it, and please personalise it if you can, or use parts of it to create your own. It would be much better if they receive different letters rather than the same ones!

Some email addresses of Embassies are below the letter.

Dear Sir, Madam,

As I’m sure you are aware, Bosnia Herzegovina is planning amendments to their Animal Welfare Act, amendments which will have dire consequences for stray dogs and cats. The proposal for these changes has already been legislated in the first reading in House of Representatives of the BiH Parliamentary Assembly. 18 representatives were for changes of the Law, and 12 representatives were against changes of the Law. 11 representatives were not present at the session of House of Representatives.

I request that you strongly urge the BiH government not to change the law but rather to start enforcing it. The current BiH Animal Welfare Act is excellent, it is just not enforced. 

The Legal – Constitutional Committee of the House of Representatives in Bosnia Herzegovina shall initiate debate on the proposed law and submit amendments on the 14th November. The second reading of the proposed changes is scheduled for 20th November, so time is short.

So far, only the Italian Government has intervened on behalf of the stray dogs of BiH. The Italian Ambassador in Bosnia, Mr Ruggero Corrias, asked BiH politicians to start enforcing the existing law, not to amend it. (Please see: http://www.lastampa.it/2013/10/24/societa/lazampa/bosnia-italia-chiede-al-parlamento-di-non-uccidere-i-cani-randagi-1wZsHQNIoyP6Rr1e0aKywI/pagina.html.)

I ask you to follow the Italian example.

If proposed changes become effective, euthanasia would 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. International animal welfare groups have been assisting in Bosnia Herzegovina as well as in other countries in the region, to control the street dog population, and there are many examples of success. For example Dogs Trust completed a sterilisation program in June 2013, sterilizing 3000 dogs. If the new amendments to the Animal Welfare Act are implemented, it’s highly likely these 3000 dogs will be taken to shelters and ‘euthanised’. 

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 actually 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. 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.

The existing Animal Welfare and Protection Act of Bosnia-Herzegovina is, as I mentioned before, fact a good and enforceable law. The only reason the law is not being enforced is because certain political and professional circles do not want to do it. (For a full translation of the existing law, please download this PDF https://inmemoryofvucko.files.wordpress.com/2013/09/lawonanimal-protectionbosniaherzegovina.pdf)

The current law makes euthanising stray dogs illegal, – except a) when the animal cannot be cured and keeping it alive would only cause unnecessary pain and further suffering; b) the animal has reached such an old age, its vital bodily functions are terminating; c) the animal suffers from an incurable and/or infectious disease, or such a disease can represent a threat to humans; d) the animal is dangerous; e) the animal is in agony. (The truth is, currently dogs are ‘euthanised’ randomly and seriously disregarding the above laws, and in highly inhumane ways as mentioned above: clubbing, injections of bleach, starvation, burning, buried alive.)

In addition, the current Animal Protection and Welfare Act states that every city and town has to build shelters for stray animals. All shelters for stray animals have to provide a NO KILL policy and adequate care, including veterinary care for the animals housed there. Again, the truth is that the conditions in most public shelters are horrific, with dogs being left for days without water, food or care of any kind. There is documented evidence of this.

What is crucial to relate to the BiH authorities regarding the proposed amendments to the law is that “Catch & kill” or “catch & incarcerate” policies have failed in numerous other countries. Cities that have successfully managed and curbed their stray animal population were those that opted for a “catch & return” policy. Studies on management of stray dog and cat population are unanimous in that euthanisation is NOT the most effective way to control populations. Euthanasia deals only with the symptoms and not the cause of the problem. It is expensive, inhumane and will not provide a permanent solution. Studies have shown that TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) and CNR (Catch-Neuter-Return) programmes are far more effective (and far more humane) than euthanasia to reduce the street animal population.

A change to the law will also mean extraordinary wastage of funds and time involved in previous spay-neuter programs of strays, most notably that of the UK Dogs Trust program mentioned above.

It’s important also to note that deliberate animal abuse is rife in Bosnia Herzegovina, and many international animal welfare organizations (Animal Kind International, for example) cite Bosnia Herzegovina as the country with the most instances of horrific animal cruelty and suffering. There is the famous case in Ilidža in central Bosnia and Herzegovina, where two men put a rocket explosive firework into a young German Shepherd’s mouth and duct-taped his jaws shut, setting the rocket alight. The firework caused horrific injuries to the dog’s face, but did not kill him. He wandered about for five days before being finally rescued by animal welfare volunteers The dog had to be euthanized. Nearly 200,000 people signed these petitions asking the Bosnian and Herzegovinian authorities to bring the perpetrators to justice, but nothing was done. There has been a recent, similar atrocity, involving a young puppy.

There is clear evidence now that people who take pleasure in harming animals are also a potential danger to other people, especially children.

Any change to the Animal Protection and Welfare Act allowing ‘euthanisation’ of healthy dogs in shelters will certainly send a message to the populace that killing of dogs and cats is acceptable in all circumstances.

Millions of citizens care deeply about animal welfare and are sickened to see constant reports of horrific animal cruelty. European citizens look to the EU to help improve animal welfare across Europe. Countries seeking to acquire EU membership need to demonstrate certain standards of animal care. Bosnia and Herzegovina are seeking admission, as you know.

As you will be aware, the European Union provides the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina and with many millions of euros worth of financial aid each year. I believe the allocation for 2012 was around €107.8m. My understanding of the provisos attached to these aid packages is that there is a requirement for the recipient country to abide by EU laws which would include the laws related to animal welfare. The Commission has stated that aligning national animal welfare legislation with EU law is a prerequisite for EU membership.

The issue of the proposed changes to the law must be addressed in the coming days. I would urge you please to raise the above issues with your representatives in Bosnia-Herzegovina and in particular we urge you to help ensure that the Bosnia Herzegovina authorities implement internationally agreed-upon guiding principles on humane stray dog population control, and that resources be allocated to ensure such principles are followed: briefly, that the existing Animal Welfare Act be implemented rather than chipped away at, allowing for continued animal abuse.

Many thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

_____________________

WHERE TO SEND THE LETTER
Listing of some Embassies in Bosnia-Herzegovina:

American Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: bhopa@state.govconsularservicesba@state.gov

Australian Consulate in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: mirsada@prismresearch.ba

Austrian Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: sarajewo-ob@bmeia.gv.at

Belgian Consulate in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: Sarajevo@diplobel.fed.be
Belgian Embassy: sarajevo@diplobel.fed.be

British Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: ConsularEnquiries.sarajevo@fco.gov.uk
Canadian Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: bpest@international.gc.ca (note, this is in Hungary, seems that there isn’t a specific CDN embassy in Bosnia)

Croatian Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: croemb.sarajevo@mvpei.hr

Czech Embassy in Saravejo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: sarajevo@embassy.mzv.cz

Danish Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: sjjamb@um.dk

Embassy of Finland is situated in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Email: sanomat.lju@formin.fi

French Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: sarajevo.consulaire@diplomatie.gouv.fr

German Embassy is in Sarajevo 
E-Mail: info@sarajewo.diplo.de

Italian Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: amb.sarajevo@esteri.it

Japanese Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: japanbih@sx.mofa.go.jp

Dutch Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: sar@minbuza.nl, sar-ca@minbuza.nl

Norwegian Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: emb.sarajevo@mfa.no

Slovenian Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: vsa@gov.si, kbl@gov.si

Swedish Embassy in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Email: ambassaden.sarajevo-visum@foreign.ministry.se

Find your Embassy in Bosnia-Herzegovina:
http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/bosnia-and-herzegovina

___________

As stated in other posts, the activists need our support with donations to help them in the next days to campaign. Even if the law goes through, there is much they can do: all shelters need to be closely monitored to try to ensure that any ‘euthanisation’ is humane and that all other aspects of the Animal Welfare Law are implemented. Any amount will help, no matter how small.

There is a YouCaring fundraiser especially for this:  https://www.youcaring.com/kill-law Activists in BiH are doing their best to educate and collect signatures – they need our support!

1469901_10202567843900112_2096519645_nPlease sign and share the petitions

RELATED POSTS ON THIS BLOG:

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DONATIONS
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.

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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.

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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.

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