Rescuing the Rescuer

Jelena Paunović, activist, rescuer and journalist in Sarajevo needs our help. Please read about her here. Jelena is one of the main reasons anyone outside of Bosnia Herzegovina knows about the dire situation for strays. During last year’s attempt to change the BiH animal welfare laws she was fully engaged with helping organise demonstrations against these changes.

She has investigated the ‘horror shelters’ and shared the story, often putting her own life in danger.

If you have read in this blog the appalling situations in the so-called dog shelters, and in particular with the dog ‘shelter’ in Hresa, it is primarily due to Jelena’s investigative work. No one will ever forget the photograph of the starving dog, taken at the shelter.

xxx But the fact remains that for an intelligent, educated, dedicated young woman in Bosnia, someone who fights a cause – animal welfare  – that the government shows no sign of supporting, a cause that the general populace is against, the options are few, and she is now at her wits end how to survive.

Jelena has had no paid work for well over a year now, but still has managed to continue her advocacy work. She has been trying to find a job in all possible ways but… in Bosnia 60% of young people are unemployed. She is just one more of them (please read her blog, “Fuck this Country“).

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 15.58.32Jelena can’t go on like this. She has one option, to sell her small, but now utterly ruined apartment. It’s ruined because of all the rescues she’s fostered, and because she’s had no income to fix things.

To put the apartment on the market, she has been forced to put into pension (kennels) the cats she rescued over the past eight years and has been fostering, but she has no income to pay the cost of this pension, but also no choice to do this. She is in a terrible situation because of this. She has no possibility of a bank loan, no one in her family who can help and all her friends are in a similar situation: struggling to survive while also struggling to save the animals.
Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 15.58.23
Jelena says: “There are seven cats in total. Other than these, I also have three dogs living in my apartment who were also rescued off the streets. This means that in my devastated apartment I have a total of 10 animals. I have tried to find homes for them, but I failed. For the past four years my apartment has had no heating system and the windows are so old they can no longer hold the glass. I have nylon on my windows instead of glass. Tens of stray dogs went through my flat. When I add it all up, it was nice to save them all, but I have destroyed my life. Now I am trying to sell the apartment in which I can no longer live. All I ask is your help to gather the money to keep the cats in the pension until I can sell my apartment. When people see so many animals, trust me, they vomit, and they bring the price down, and this apartment is the only material thing I own. For the first time I am begging you for help, because I will go insane!

Many of the dogs you’ve seen on these blogs that were rescued and eventually found homes for outside of BiH were fostered by Jelena in this apartment.  Surely we can thank her for all the fine work she’s done by helping fund the cats until she can sell her apartment?

Screen Shot 2014-08-02 at 16.01.31The cost to keep the cats in pension is 3 euros per day per cat, about 530 euros per month. She’s managed to raise some of this, but for this month alone still needs at least 250 euros. Can we raise this and one month in addition so she can focus on selling the apartment and not worry every moment about how she will pay this debt?

And if you think you can offer a home to one of these lovely cats, please email her directly.

If you can help with the pension debt, you can donate directly to Jelena via PayPal to – mark ‘for cat debt’ – or if you prefer, via AWABosnia’s Paypal:, please mark ‘for Jelena’s cat pension debt’. Thank you! Any amount will help, perhaps you can offer to pay one day for one cat (3 EU/4 USD)? Or better – offer to be a Virtual Adopter for one cat for one month? If you can, please let Jelena know! Email:

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Funds are needed for spay-neuter projects, to help individual rescues but also to continue advocacy work in Bosnia, uncovering the truth about what is happening there.

Donations are managed by AWABosnia, an independent group of animal advocates. On their website, 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: 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 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. Even just one dollar or one euro will help make a difference.

11 thoughts on “Rescuing the Rescuer

  1. I will be donating next week,hopefully Tuesday. I remember that awful picture of the Dashund type starving dog, and asked how I could help save his life. Sadly, I was told it was an old photo, and the poor animal dead (at least his suffering was ended)

    • Thank you so much Brian. Yes, sadly the dog in that photograph is dead. He was found by Jelena and the other activists in Hresa shelter, and they tried to get him out but were prevented by the shelter workers. They returned the next day and were told the dog was ‘euthanised’.

      • I dont understand how these people can be so utterly cruel,why didnt they let her take the dog out for gods sake its nothing but horrific abuse and murder of these innocent animals,why isnt the world helping what is wrong with the eu that they do not interveen,this is not exceptable on any level,who can make this stop does no goverment give a flying fck what these innocent animals are suffering its shameful I am screaming at the toip of my voice help these dogs for gods sake!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Dear,
    That picture of the starving makes me so sad..did he really died,or was it possible to
    resque / save if he is he now?

    Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2014 15:51:35 +0000

    • Sadly the dog died. Activists went into the shelter and saw the dog, and tried to take it to safety, but were prevented by the shelter workers. They returned the next day to be told the dog was ‘euthanised’.

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