Translation of the interview into English:
Dalida Kozlić is an ideal spokesperson on the topic of protection of animals. She is a lawyer who deals with the legal protection of animals, including documentation and reporting of crimes of torture and killing of animals, as well as the failure to implement and violations of provisions of the Animal Protection and Welfare Act of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This young girl (24) is an activist for animal rights and a rescuer with more than 15 years of experience. We began to correspond when I saw Damir Janacek’s movie ” Kinofil “, which drew my attention to the situation of stray dogs in Bosnia and Herzegovina and to the abuse of animals in general. Since Bosnia and Herzegovina has been hit by the worst floods ever, I am wondering how animals are being rescued.
BDNJ : Dalida, we know that the flooding has affected a big part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the situation is catastrophic, tell us more details …
DK : The situation is terrible, especially in Doboj, Maglaj, Orašje, Odzak, Bijeljina, Bosanski Samac. Damage to properties and infrastructure will be almost the same as damage from the war. Unfortunately, there are casualties. Over one million people have no access to drinking water, thousands of people have lost their homes due to floods or landslides which have been destroying hundreds of houses. Homecoming will be a slow process for many people. Many houses were destroyed or became unsafe because of the huge quantity of water. Many of the affected areas have lost literally everything. Restoration of terrain will be a long and slow process.
BDNJ : What is the situation for the animals ? We know that there are a lot of stray dogs in BiH…
DK : Unfortunately , many animals were killed. In some areas all livestock died. Many wild animals were killed in landslides, and many left their habitats. Many stray animals died too. Some stray animals escaped to forests and mountains. Unfortunately, many of them were injured or they drowned in the water. It has been reported that many people organised rescue operations for stray animals, pets and livestock. There were cases where people didn’t want to be evacuated without their animals. Unfortunately, people were not in such solidarity with the animals in some parts of Bosnia. Many cattle weren’t discharged from the stables and corral; too many animals remained tied with chains in some areas. Some of them were rescued, and some weren’t saved. There is a very positive aspect that many people have been doing their best to save the animals for more than 10 days, but there is a terrible side that many animals have been left at the mercy of nature – consciously by the owner.
BDNJ : Has the government done something in terms of rescuing of animals and their care?
DK : The reaction of the state when it comes to animals is as usual inadequate. Prevention and / or suppression of the epidemic ought to be a priority. Not enough or nothing was done to rescue animals during floods since many of them had been wounded or sick. Given that there are numerous obstructions in the implementation of the Animal Protection and Welfare Act, injured and sick animals have nowhere to be placed. The Veterinary Office and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of University of Sarajevo have been working in the field of combating epidemics of various diseases, given that corpses of animals and garbage is being removed very slowly, and that temperatures are very high.
BDNJ : Many volunteers and members of animal protection associations have been saving animals in Croatia. What is the situation like in Bosnia?
DK : Many activists, rescuers and volunteers have been saving animals in Bosnia. We are working 24/7 to provide food, medications, veterinary assistance and fostering for the animals. We do not have any help from the state. Many international organizations and individuals are helping us in different ways. It is very important to act preventively because of diseases and to provide vaccines and medications. Also, activists continue to organise the rescue of animals in the flooded areas. I express my great appreciation to the organisations Marianne’s Dog Food Bank and Animal Welfare Advocates for Bosnia and Herzegovina, which have given us all possible assistance in rescuing of animals. These organizations have been fighting for animal rights in Bosnia and enabled the rescue of thousands of animals. Their help is invaluable and I have to point out that many animals have been rescued in the previous period. Many activists are constantly on the field and provide all possible care and help for animals. I want to thank to the wonderful teams from Sarajevo (Jelena , Alica, Edina , Arijana , etc ) and Tuzla (Amila, Ivana ) for the courage and dedication they have shown .
BDNJ : Does it seem to you that this disaster somewhat has changed the attitude of people towards animals ? Are people aware that we equal are in the face of all horrors?
DK : The consciousness of people about animals has changed in some parts of Bosnia. People have expressed their support to the most helpless creatures, but unfortunately in some areas of Bosnia and Herzegovina it is not going to happen for a long time.
BDNJ : What is happening with the legislative procedure on the draft amendments to Animal Protection and Welfare Act of BiH, which provides for the euthanasia of stray dogs ?
DK : Proposal for changes and amendments to the Animal Protection and Welfare Law contains obscene, primitive and inhuman provisions for euthanasia of healthy stray animals that are fostered in shelters (which have never been created) for stray animals, if they are not adopted in 14 days. Legal procedure is not completed and no one knows when it will be finished in the House of Peoples of the Parliamentary Assembly since a vice president and member of the House of Peoples Sulejman Tihic has cancer. For this reason, meeting of the Collegiums of the House of Peoples cannot be held to discuss amendments to the Animal Protection and Welfare Act. We hope that the face of disaster will show people that all suffer equally and that there is no need to inflict more pain when there are humane solutions. And finally, here you can see the documentary Kinofil. It is very sad. And very good.
More about Dalida and how you can support her work here.
If you can help in the fundraising effort to assist rescue groups in the aftermath of the floods please donate via our YouCaring or via Paypal to firstname.lastname@example.org as per the instructions below and mark it for EMERGENCY FUNDS. Thank you! No amount is too small.
For ongoing updates please see our Facebook page AWABosnia
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EMERGENCY IN SARAJEVO – the strays need your help!
Funds are needed not only to help individual rescues but also to continue our advocacy work in Bosnia Herzegovina, 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: email@example.com . 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.