Illegal Catching and Killing of Dogs in Sarajevo

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As you know from our previous blog, on 30 June, 2016, the Cantonal Government of Sarajevo issued a decision which requires the utility company KJKP Rad Hygienic Service (or “P.C. Rad”) in collaboration with Veterinary Station and supported by the police, to remove all stray dogs they find on the street. And also you know there are not in fact enough places new dogs in the already overpopulated, poorly maintained and inhumane shelters.  This removal of strays from the city will not solve a problem which is the direct result of owners either letting their unsterilised dogs free-roam, or because they abandon their unsterilised dogs. 

Dalida Kozlic L.L.B, lawyer and activist,  Aky Coowa, activist writes:

On Monday 25th July, a peaceful demonstration called “Stop killing the dogs“ was held in front of the Sarajevo Cantonal Government. Those who attended requested the prime minister to end the illegal activities of the public company KJKP Rad (Hygienic Service).  Amela Turalic, animal activist, took an opportunity when Mr. Elmedin Konakovic, Prime Minister of the Sarajevo Canton, was passing by and asked him for a meeting. He agreed. Previously, no one from the Cantonal Government had replied to a letter sent by a group of Sarajevo citizens for such a meeting.

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On 26th July, a few dog lovers and rescuers from Bosnia and Herzegovina met with Mr. Elmedin Konakovic and with the Minister for Utility and Infrastructure Senad Hasanspahić. It was the first time that the Prime Minister had such a meeting with several people defending dogs. The group was represented by the following people: Berina Alihodzic, Deputy Chief Cantonal Prosecutor, Amela Turalić from the NGO sector, Dalida Kozlic, lawyer, Elzemina Bajrović from the UNDP, an employee of the UN in the role of a concerned citizen and Almir Kuduz, owner of King pension.

13663563_10208548917874050_990398905_oPrime minister Elmedin Konakovic’s attitude initially clearly envisaged a “meeting with filthy activists/ demonstrators”. He began by insisting the situation with dogs was very alarming, that dogs were aggressive and infected, attacking pregnant women and so on. He said he would solve the problem of overpopulation of stray dogs by mass catching of stray dogs and that he wants to change the law immediately so dogs can be euthanised after 15 days in shelters. He stated all sick dogs should be euthanized. He seemed to have just one aim: to remove all dogs from Sarajevo. Apparently, he has chosen this illegal way to do it and he wants to implement illegal practices.

The Prime Minister had a strong support from the Minister for Utility and Infrastructure Senad Hasanspahić,

The team presented their arguments to the Prime Minister showing they were not “filthy activists” but serious people coming from recognised institutions.

13662480_10208548917914051_755251969_oElzemina from the UNDP talked about UNDP programmes regarding curbing stray animal populations and also stated that the UNDP BiH Representative gave her approval to attend the meeting (the Prime Minister had previously mentioned his collaboration with all ambassadors on the subject saying that they all agreed with him…). Almir Kuduz spoke, stating amongst other things the need to simplify and make affordable the process of transporting Bosnian dogs abroad for adoption; the fact that government should assist citizens and all people who care for stray dogs so it is easier to run legal pensions.

Prime minister Elmedin Konakovic booked another meeting with the group in a week.


13884396_10208548868872825_938767276_nThe intention of the group was to raise the question of the implementation of the decision of the 30th June. Since the Government and Prime Minister keep claiming this has been done legally, the group wanted to seek permission to have access to all dog catchers services (including all vehicles at the street) and to be allowed to follow the whole procedure from catching the dog to the placement in shelters or eventual euthanasia. Therefore, this issue will be raised at the forthcoming meeting with the Prime Minister on Thursday.

The Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals is the main legislation regarding treatment of animals in Bosnia. Authorities of one canton must implement the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals and it is a criminal offence to finance activities that are done in accordance with illegal decisions of low level authorities.

13866823_10208548868952827_907391138_nAs you can see from the pictures, dog catchers are very active. They catch dogs even when they are asleep. Dogs who manage to escape being caught appear traumatised. There are three teams of dog catchers, working in two shifts. Dogs are taken to Cantonal veterinary station Sarajevo where rescuers and other people can rescue caught dogs, and also from this station some dogs are sent to Praca shelter mentioned above. However, dogs are also being taken to the headquarters of KJKP Rad where no one – no rescuers or animal advocates –  can enter, only employees of KJKP Rad. Also, dog catchers of KJKP Rad have started taking dogs to the infamous veterinary station in Reljevo and the infamous military base Zunovnica in Hadzic, where the dog catching service of P.E. “Lokum” of Novi Grad, has taken dogs. It is important to emphasise that the veterinary station in Reljevo is owned by Lokom and that it is known to be the worst killing pound in Sarajevo.

13654145_1837702073130454_8254499706440615420_nThe imperative is to stop the illegal catching and killing of strays and to enable rescuers to have access to all shelters and dog catching services, which is a legal obligation of authorities, but also it is very useful since rescuers can help maintain shelters and help feed and look after the animals there. Authorities must take their responsibility for solving of this problem.

Because owners are continuing to abandon their unsterilised dogs or the unsterilised offspring of their pets, and because there are not sufficient numbers of adequately run sterilisation campaigns, the number of dogs in the Canton Sarajevo is still around several thousand.
gladnosadpuppyNo one knows the exact number as there is no database. Local authorities built several shelters around Sarajevo in which conditions are even not close to a satisfactory level, animals have no vet care, conditions and treatment are inhumane. These shelters include Praca, Hresa, Gladno Polje and Zunovnica with a maximum capacity of around 600 dogs in total. Dogs often die due to sickness or are attacked by other dogs. Conditions are almost the same as in concentration war camps. Dogs survive – if at all – thanks to groups of volunteers and animal-friendly citizens of Sarajevo who visit them and provide food and some medicines. Some public companies donate some food or food scraps. Lucky dogs are homed in Bosnia or abroad thanks to volunteers. (During the meeting Prime Minister Elmedin Konakovic stated the government most likely would buy Praca shelter, and who knows what the consequence will be for the dogs.)

Thousands of dogs remaining on the streets cannot be placed in shelters as they are so overcrowded. Furthermore, there is not any official evidence as to how many dogs are taken from the streets, how many arrive in the shelters, what their health condition is, how many are euthanized and for what reason, and how many are currently at the shelters. There is no adequate inspection in practice, no official cooperation with the NGO sector which could make and keep evidence on everything in cooperation with the authorities. Hence dogs are often left at the mercy of employees of the hygienic service and shelter owners. No one knows how many die in between visits of the volunteers and due to what reason.

The Bosnian media is also getting more and more involved in reporting this case:
BIH MAGAZIN [22.07.2016.]
Misterija iza smanjenja broja pasa lutalica u Sarajevu
UBIJANJE ZAKONA O ZAŠTITI ŽIVOTINJA: Aktivisti tvrde da se sarajevski psi ubijaju u nelegalnim skloništima!

P1020736However media has also encouraged citizens of Sarajevo to live in fear of stray dogs. They constantly publish overwrought, bombastic articles about dogs attacking people, of infected and rabid dogs, of the filth they are producing in an otherwise very clean city et cetera. Currently there is, in fact, an alarming situation of rats and other rodents on the streets, but the media presents the dogs as a bigger problem. And no media is reporting on dogs being transported from other areas of Bosnia to Sarajevo, even, perhaps, from other countries (a truck has been seen filled with dogs in Sarajevo, with Albanian registration plates). A story was published about 10 days ago in several news portals, where the Prime Minister stated that child support is only 33 KM (about 16 euros) per child and yet the government is allocating 153 KM (about 78 euros) per stray dog. If this money did in fact go towards stray dogs, then the situation in the shelters and the overpopulation would not exist. Nevertheless such stories inflame the rage of the populace against dogs.

Most of of media is controlled and/or financed by leading political parties, which is why they do not publish the real situation.

HOW TO HELP:

PLEASE NOTE THAT PETITIONS DO VERY LITTLE. WE HAVE ORGANISED MANY WITH HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF SIGNATURES OBTAINED, BUT NO CHANGE HAS HAPPENED. It is better to write letters as follows:

1. Write letters to your embassy representative in Bosnia:

To find your Embassy in Bosnia-Herzegovina go here:
http://embassy.goabroad.com/embassies-in/bosnia-and-herzegovina
Finding any MEP in Europe – a ‘Euromap’
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/meps/en/map.html
Finding any MEP by the alphabetical name list can be done via the following link: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/members/expert/alphaOrder.do?language=EN


2. Write letters to the Bosnian authorities:

Prime minister of Canton Sarajevo, Dino Konaković,   premijer@vlada.ks.gov.ba
Minister of Utility infrastracture, Senad Hasanspahić ministar@mki.ks.gov.ba and
mki@mki.ks.gov.ba

3. Write letters to international animal welfare organisations – google this for email addresses or go here on Wikipedia for information

Below is a draft letter you can modify to use. Or you can simply copy and paste the above blog and ask that something be done. Please be sure to address it to a specific person and to sign it, including your contact details.

________________________________________________

Dear XXX

Millions of citizens care deeply about animal welfare and are sickened to see constant reports of horrific animal cruelty. Countries seeking to acquire EU membership need to demonstrate certain standards of animal care, and so I want to bring to your attention Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are seeking admission, and yet who constantly contravene their own animal welfare laws.

In 2009, the Law on Animal Welfare and Protection entered into force in Bosnia Herzegovina. Amongst other things this law proscribes that owners of dogs and cats are to register their animals at the veterinarian organization and mark them with microchips. Additionally, within the period of one year, institutions were obliged to build humane shelters in which all abandoned and lost animals found on the streets should be placed after being caught by a hygienic service, and in which they would be treated on a humane way and provided adequate veterinarian care. Until then, stray animals could be spayed and turned back to the street, while only sick, aggressive and dogs in agony were to be euthanized.

So far, no legally proscribed measure has been conducted. Since the local authorities have not conducted sufficient neutering campaigns on time and properly, the number of stray dogs has multiplied. Dogs Trust sterilization campaigns nave not been able to significantly reduce the numbers of dogs in Sarajevo. Owners are continuing to abandon their unsterilised dogs or the unsterilised offspring of their pets, so the number of dogs in the Canton Sarajevo still seems to be around several thousands. No one knows the exact number as there is no database. Local authorities built several shelters around Sarajevo in which conditions are even not close to a satisfactory level, animals have no vet care, conditions and treatment are inhumane. These shelters include Praca, Hresa, Gladno Polje and Zunovnica with a maximum capacity of around 600 dogs in total. Dogs often die due to sickness or are attacked by other dogs. Conditions are almost the same as in concentration war camps. Dogs survive thanks to groups of volunteers and animal-friendly citizens of Sarajevo who visit them and provide food and some medicines. Some public companies donate some food or food scraps. Lucky dogs are homed in Bosnia or abroad thanks to volunteers.

Thousands of those remaining on the streets cannot be placed in shelters as they are overcrowded. Furthermore, there is not any official evidence as to how many dogs are taken from the streets, how many arrive in the shelters, what their health condition is, how many are euthanized and for what reason, and how many are currently at the shelters. There is no adequate inspection in practice, no official cooperation with the NGO sector which could make and keep evidence on everything in cooperation with the authorities. Hence dogs are often left at the mercy of employees of the hygienic service and shelter owners. No one knows how many die in between visits of the volunteers and due to what reason.

On 30 June, 2016, Cantonal Government issued a decision which requires A utility company KJKP Rad (Hygienic Service), in collaboration with Veterinary Station and supported by the police, to remove all stray dogs they find on the street. In the course of their action, they take every dog, regardless of whether they are aggressive, sick, spayed (with a visible marked at the plate on the ear) or not. Even babies. While the Government is claiming that this is being done legally and in a human way, the implementation of the conclusion is illegal due to the fact that there is no space and no conditions at the shelters to put new arrivals of dogs. Therefore, it is obvious that hundreds and thousands of dogs taken from the streets are killed.

Furthermore, government public statements have been made with regards to this dog catching stating there is a need to collect aggressive and ill street dogs, which is part of the country’s animal welfare law. The same law prohibits the destruction of healthy dogs. And yet, animal welfare activists have documented healthy and non-aggressive dogs been caught and removed. In addition, the problem of strays in the city is a result of owners either letting their unsterilised dogs free-roam, or because they abandon their unsterilised dogs.

Increased numbers of dogs on the streets is a direct result of irresponsible ownership, with owners either letting their unsterilised dogs free-roam, or because they abandon their unsterilised dogs and because of government failure to implement preventive measures that are provided by the laws, such as punishing those who abandon animals, creating a registration of pets, providing adequate spay/neuter projects with vaccination and tagging of stray animals in an appropriate form and number, and education and information campaigns which are aimed to raise public awareness about the causes of the problem.

The BiH law on Protection and Welfare of Animals very clearly provides solutions for dealing with an overpopulation of stray animals in Bosnia. The first legal obligation of authorities is to build shelters for stray animals, whose purpose is to care for stray animals until they are adopted. Conditions that all shelters must fulfil are outlined in the law.

Regarding registration of pets, for seven years the State Veterinary Office has not enacted the laws on registration, micro-chipping and identification of ownership of animals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, nor has established a unified database for registration.

The only way to solve this problem is for municipalities and governments to establish their own database of owned of animal. If the database of tagged animals and owners of animals is established, it will enable the identification, prosecution and punishment of people who abandon the animals.

Also, the dog shelters in this country are documented by animal rescue organisations and activists to be inhumane ‘death camps’ for dogs, and are in fact used for money laundering purposes: money destined for the dogs and the shelters is pocketed.

I am writing to ask your assistance in ensuring that the current ‘dog catching’ service of by the public utility company KJKP Rad Ltd. Sarajevo and Public company “Veterinary station” Ltd. be monitored and investigated to ensure it works according to Bosnian law and that the shelters in Sarajevo – in particular Zunovnica shelter – and other public shelters in the country have radically improved conditions,  and in particular that animal activists be allowed to document and ensure that the laws are applied.

We have been advised by BiH lawyers and activists that as the BiH politicians themselves are involved in stealing of money from illegal shelters and hygienic ‘dog catching’ services, and that since the prosecutors and police officers are also corrupt, the only way to force the BiH political establishment to stop their illegal practises is pressure from international organisations and especially embassies.

The existing Animal Welfare and Protection Act of Bosnia-Herzegovina is in 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.

The law 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.

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.  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.

I would urge you please to raise the above issues with the European Commission and the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of animals (http://www.animalwelfareintergroup.eu/) and, critically, with your representatives in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The issue of the failure of the BiH authorities to apply even the barest minimum of the law to ensure the safety of the animals must be addressed. It is imperative that the European Commission and the Parliament discusses this matter with their Bosnia and Herzegovina counterparts.

We urge you to help ensure that the Bosnia Herzegovina authorities implement internationally agreed-upon guiding principles on humane stray dog population control and management, and that resources be allocated to ensure such principles are followed.

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

Kind regards,

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Please read related articles/blogs on this site for more information:

Terror for strays on the streets of Sarajevo
Stray Dogs in Sarajevo: a documentary
Dog Catchers of Sarajevo: Latest news
Disturbing Irregularities found in Dog Catching Service of Sarajevo
The Dog Catchers of Sarajevo are Back
Pope’s Visit to Sarajevo Means Death for Dogs

Sarajevo Demonstrations Against Illesgal Dog Catchers
Former Military Base in Sarajevo involved in dog killing?
“DOG-CATCHERS” OF SARAJEVO CAUGHT IN ACTION!
AUTHORISED SLAUGHTER OF DOGS IN SARAJEVO
2014: What is happening to the strays of Bosnia Herzegovina?

Animal Advocates Assaulted in Sarajevo
Bosnia: Let’s Respect Animals and their Right to Life
Veterinary Office of Bosnia: is it possible to solve the problem of stray dogs?
The “Aggressive” Dogs of Sarajevo
The Campaign Begins With a Slaughter: You will kill the dogs, but what will you do with the beasts?
Stray Dogs of Sarajevo to be Killed in Election Ploy
Stop the Killing of Strays in Sarajevo
Bosnia: Sarajevo set to become the next Bucharest
BOSNIA: kill and slaughter until the dog is no more…
Bosnia Killing Dogs – No Different to Romania!
ANTI KILL-LAW FIGHT – NOW WHAT?

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DONATIONS

Funds are needed to help individual rescues, for spay-neuter projects, for education 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: 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 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. Even just one dollar or one euro will help make a difference.

Terror for strays on the streets of Sarajevo

CULLture

Dalida Kozlic, lawyer and activist in BiH writes:

On June 30th the Government of Canton Sarajevo issued a decision ordering the hygienic service of Public utility company “Rad” Ltd. Sarajevo and Public company “Veterinary station” Ltd. Sarajevo to begin mass catching of stray dogs in Sarajevo.

Authorities of Canton Sarajevo admit they don’t in fact have enough places to put caught stray dogs and more details about the mass actions will be published on Monday.

What we do know is that the hygienic service of “Rad” will actively be catching stray dogs in Sarajevo, and to a greater degree than ever before.

The hygienic service/dog catching service of P. E. “Rad” Ltd. of Canton Sarajevo began working on the 14th of August, 2015. The assembly of Canton Sarajevo voted to establish this hygienic service in March, 2015, after the Bosnian media portals presented months of debate between animal protection activists and organisations and the government authorities. Canton Sarajevo’s efforts to establish this hygienic service failed in the autumn of 2014 after activists uncovered that the government had, in fact, issued an illegal decision to establish the service.

Most of the dogs caught by dog catchers of “Rad” are taken to the Cantonal veterinary station of Canton Sarajevo (Stup) where the dogs are examined and then taken to shelters for stray dogs.

10801687_379932732183613_2004348567224426053_nHowever, the hygienic service of P. E. “Rad” Ltd. does not fulfil the conditions required for a legal hygienic service, conditions which are provided by the laws of the country.

The most disturbing fact is that the director of this hygienic service is the notorious Mustafa Maglajlija. He was the director of an illegal killing pound that existed within “Rad” until 2009. Dog catchers’ service of P. E. “Rad” was previously active until 2009, and became a notorious group of dog catchers who were known for their mass slaughter of stray dogs in Canton Sarajevo. All these atrocities happened under the supervision of Mustafa Maglajlija. Also, the headquarters of the new hygienic service are in the same building as that of the former killing pound which is now full of stray dogs that have been caught by the new team of “Rad“. It is impossible to enter to the facility but witnesses have confirmed new dogs are arriving all the time.

It is obvious that the government of Canton Sarajevo has established a new facility for money laundering that is trying to work in the same way as it worked until 2009. The dog catching service of “Rad” wants to establish the same policy of killing as the Lokom dog catching service established since 2013.
Untitled2Mass catching of stray dogs in Sarajevo will cause existing shelters to become even more overcrowded than ever. These public shelters do not provide even the barest minimum of health and safety for dogs.

According to provisions of the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals of Bosnia every municipality is obliged to establish and finance shelters for stray animals as well as hygienic services to catch and transport stray animals to veterinary stations and shelters. Two very important laws were legislated in 2010: laws on the establishment of and conditions within shelters for stray animals and hygienic services. Both laws provide very strict and humane ways of establishing and maintaining of shelters and hygienic services. Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the best animal welfare legislations in Europe, but the reality is a very different state of affairs and animals within these shelters and caught by the ‘dog catchers’ suffer greatly.

This decision of the Government of Canton Sarajevo is an illegal decision because there are no shelters that fulfil the conditions required by the law. Before a mass action of catching of dogs can be organised, legal shelters must be built and a register of pets must be established.

When authorities finance the catching and placing of stray dogs in illegal shelters, authorities are committing criminal offences according to Bosnian criminal laws. These offences include cruelty to and killing of animals, money laundering and abuse of an office or official authority.

Article 318 of Criminal Law of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Cruelty towards and Killing of an Animal

(1) Whoever severely maltreats an animal or exposes it to unnecessary or long-lasting suffering, or causes it unnecessary pain, or unlawfully destroys animals’ habitats in a larger scale or within a wider area, or kills animals contrary to regulations, shall be punished by a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months.

(2) Whoever perpetrates the criminal offence referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article for the bet or other material gain, or if, by the criminal offence referred to in paragraph 1 of this Article, the death of larger number of animals or protected species is caused, shall be punished by a fine or imprisonment for a term not exceeding one year.

In Bosnia Herzegovina there are many illegal shelters for stray animals managed by persons close to Bosnian authorities. Politically eligible persons construct so-called shelters for stray animals, which basically have the a function a concentration camp. The managers /owners of these shelters invoice for false spay/neuter programs, for food that will never be given to the animals; for veterinary examination and treatment, and at the end, a means for euthanasia.

P1020736Animals are tortured and killed in those shelters. Animals are beaten, cut, clubbed, and worse. Animals are not given adequate water, food, accommodation, they freeze or are exposed to extremely high temperatures. Animals are killed with wires, clubs, glass shreds, poison, firearms.

In the meantime, the local authorities finance people who own those shelters. In addition there are a number of illegal hygienic services which receive money from budgets from different municipalities. These hygienic services kill stray animals, but receive money for food, medications, treatment, catching of stray animals as well as their placement as if they are alive.

Praca shelter, the only registered and the biggest shelter in Bosnia has many problems. It is overcrowded, but at least people are allowed to donate food and medications for dogs, and rescuers are able help to maintain the shelter and provide food, but the situation is still not ideal by any means. This shelter should have been financed by all the municipalities of Canton Sarajevo, but after it was published how much of the budget money had been spent for illegal activities, the shelter was forgotten, but many new dogs were placed there. Apparently, dozens of new dogs are arriving at Praca shelter because of the mass catching of stray dogs in Sarajevo.

Gladnopuppies copyDogs caught are also being taken to the shelter of Gladno Polje in Sarajevo. Rescuers also do their best to take care of the dogs here, but the situation is also critical. More dogs are coming in all the time and the money that is allocated for the shelter by the municipality authorities is not in fact used to provide food other necessities for the dogs and the shelter. Those funds are laundered by establishment of the shelter and authorities.

Because of money laundering through illegal shelters, Bosnian authorities in fact want to have more stray dogs on the streets, not less as they publicise to the citizens. If there are increasing numbers of dogs on the streets, then more dogs can be killed/removed and more money can be stolen.

The paradox is that the veterinary inspection and the police, while being obliged to prevent and punish illegal dog catchers, in fact support them and protect their illegal activities.

gladnosadpuppyActivists are facing the biggest challenge ever and we are fighting against a corrupt system. Police officers and veterinary inspectors have filed a lot of minor offence warrants against activists who are saving animals and fighting against the dog catchers. Since the accusations are false and warrants are not filed in accordance with Bosnian law, activists will prove, before the court in Sarajevo, that the police officers and veterinary inspectors are involved in criminal activities.

The first thing the authorities and the establishment of “Rad” must do is to fulfil the legal obligation of transparency: which means that it must be possible for dogs caught by them to be visited and monitored by activists and citizens.

It is necessary to force the authorities to implement the law and provide a transparent and legal dog catching service and it is clear that we can only force them to do so by filing not only criminal reports but a private suit against all officials who are abusing their position.

The Bosnian law on Protection and Welfare of Animals is one of the best in Europe. In spite of this, a great body of evidence has been gathered and presented to prosecutors and the police about illegal activities. And while there are several on-going investigations into money laundering through illegal shelters and hygienic services, all these atrocities are still happening. It is one of the worst violations of the Criminal Code in Bosnian history.

International focus and help is the only solution for animals in Bosnia. It is very important that international animal welfare organisations, embassies as well as individuals press the Bosnian authorities to stop P1020644killing of animals.

The only way to protect animals in Bosnia is to force Bosnian authorities to actually implement their own laws. Rescuers and NGOs should be overtly involved in implementation of the law. There are so many projects and ideas that could be done in accordance with the law in order to control population of the stray animals in humane and effective ways. Those projects are available in both the short and long term, but the authorities do not avail themselves of these solutions.

The imperative is to stop the killing and to enable rescuers to have access to all shelters and dog catching services, not only is this a legal obligation of the authorities, but rescuers can actually assist with the monitoring of the shelters and looking after the animals. Authorities must take their responsibility for solving this problem.

Silence on many international subjects is something we all should worry about. Only public and international pressure can force authorities to start doing their job. People who wish to help Bosnian stray animals should inform their embassies, the international animal protection and welfare organisations and media, letting them know that the situation in Bosnia is not much different than in Romania and other countries where stray animals suffer enormous cruelty.

Rescuers in Bosnia cannot save all strays. So many more lives could be saved if the authorities are forced to implement their own laws.

HOW TO HELP: Please see this post What to do about Gladno Polje Shelter in Sarajevo? which has information on how to locate your embassy, and a draft letter you can modify to send, to them. Please address also your letters to the Bosnian authorities here:

Prime minister of Canton Sarajevo, Dino Konaković,   premijer@vlada.ks.gov.ba
Minister of Utility infrastracture, Senad Hasanspahić ministar@mki.ks.gov.ba and
mki@mki.ks.gov.ba

You may add to your letter the following transcript of the speech Dalida Kozlic delivered during the session of the Assembly of Canton Sarajevo.

The problem of overpopulation of stray dogs is a direct consequence of the failure to implement, as well as a series of obstructions and misuse of the Act on the Protection and Welfare of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has been lasting since 2009 when the law came into force. The Act on Protection Act and Welfare of Animals of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a lex specialis (the main legislation) in the field of treating animals in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Act, as well as related by-laws, are the main legal framework for all other laws and by-laws that are legislated by the legislative authorities at any level of organization of authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which regulate the relation, keeping and treatment of animals.

By attempting only a partial and non-systematic implementation of the Act, the agony of stray dogs on the streets as well as citizens will only widen further, and budget funds will be spent on non-purpose, illegal and unsystematic attempts to solve the problem. Instead of solving the problem with legal solutions, authorities have been financing the killing of stray animals in illegal pounds for years. Financing of illegal pounds is a violation of the provisions of the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals, as well as a serious offence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Failure to implement the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals is the result of a series of abuses and obstructions as well as of the authorities dealing only with consequences and not with the causes of the problem, and the causes are the abandonment of animals, irresponsible ownership and uncontrolled reproduction.

Increased numbers of dogs on the streets is always and only a direct result of irresponsible ownership, and failure to implement preventive measures that are provided by the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals, such as punishing those who abandon animals, the full identification of ownership and pets, spay/neuter projects with vaccination and tagging of stray animals in an appropriate form and number, and education and information campaigns which are aimed to raise public awareness about the causes of the problem.

The Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals very clearly and precisely provides solutions for dealing with an overpopulation of stray animals in Bosnia. The first legal obligation of authorities is to build shelters for stray animals, whose purpose is to care for stray animals until they are adopted. Conditions that all shelters must fulfil are provided by the Ordinance on the establishment and the conditions that must be fulfilled by shelters for stray animals in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Another legal obligation of the authorities is the registration of ownership of animals.

For seven years the State Veterinary Office has not enacted the laws on registration, micro-chipping and identification of ownership of animals Bosnia and Herzegovina, nor has established a unified register of ownership of animals. Abandoning of animals by their owners is a direct generator of the problem, and the cause of abandoning of animals is the policy of impunity of people who abandon their animals. The only way to solve this problem is for municipalities and cantons to establish their own registries of ownership of animals, and this will significantly contribute to improving the situation in the canton, and then the entity and state level. Sarajevo Canton authorities have already been offered software for the registration of ownership of animals.

If the registry of tagged animals and owners of animals is established, it will enable the identification, prosecution and punishment of people who abandon the animals. The implementation of repressive measures will directly affect the consciousness of citizens and achieve the functions of general and special prevention and repression. Because of the absence of a register of breeders, illegal breeding causes an increasing of number of stray animals. Irresponsible or unregistered breeders and breeding contributes to increasing the number of stray animals.

Although it is their legal obligation, municipalities and cities refuse to finance the construction and maintenance of shelters for stray animals because of poor financial conditions, but we witness everyday improper and illegal spending of budget funds. Also false information about the cost of maintaining shelters is published. If violators of the provisions of the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals are punished, the funds raised from fines ought to be directed towards the construction and maintenance of shelters for stray animals. Also implementation of the Act of Protection and Welfare of Animals can be financed by funds collected from legally obligatory vaccination of dogs against rabies. Until shelters for stray animals are built, municipalities can assist by financing the feeding of stray animals, and authorities are obliged to implement spay/neuter projects.

If the shelters for stray animals, which must be “centres for treatment and adopting of stray animals,” are built and maintained in accordance with state regulations and law, and if there is an appropriate policy for establishing and managing shelters, the cost will be low. Quality education and raising awareness of the citizens will mean an increase in the percentage of adoption of abandoned animals.

Hygienic services are directly related to the existence of shelters for stray animals and because of this, the establishment of hygienic services cannot be an independent measure to solve the problem and to decrease the population of stray animals. Hygienic services must be established in accordance with the provisions of the law on the establishment and the conditions that hygienic services must fulfil in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The purpose of a hygienic service is capturing and transport of stray animals to veterinary stations and shelters. Certainly the establishment of a legal hygienic services is necessary, but hygienic services cannot exist and work without implementing all the other legal obligations of the authorities, especially without building shelters. If hygienic services work without implementing all the provisions and measures provided by the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals, those services do not solve the problem and they are perfect grounds for different abuses and misuses of the laws. The working of hygienic service of Public company “Rad” Ltd. without full implementation of Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals represents an improper and illegal spending of budget funds.

Only by full implementation of Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals, misuse and illegal killing in shelters and hygienic services can be prevented. Also, all responsible authorities such as Veterinary Office, Veterinary inspection, authorised official veterinarians, police, etc., must be involved in the implementation of the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals, and it is their legal obligation. Authorities have failed to fulfil their legal obligations and many authorities that are responsible for implementation of the Act have actually violated the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals. Such illegal behaviour must be punished and prevented.

Preventing of abuse, which are particularly related to the fact that stray dogs can “ disappear” is only possible by consistent implementation of all the measures stipulated by the Act on the protection and welfare of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as the maximum commitment and legal responsibility for the implementation of the Law on the protection and welfare of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and these are the SVO, Inspectorates of veterinary inspection, an authorized official veterinarians, police officers and others. Such engagement is so far absent even in many of the cases which are violations of the law by those responsible for its implementation.

You should be aware that the partial and manipulating misuse of Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals, which has been in practice so far, only makes an even greater and longer-lasting problem. The problem of overpopulation of stray dogs in Sarajevo Canton can be solved by the registration of ownership of dogs, engaging a certified trainer for the protection of animals to educate people, assistance in developing of a strategy to solve the problem of stray animals and finally the building self-sustaining shelters for stray animals.

Without complete and consistently implementing of the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals, the problem of overpopulation of stray animals will not be solved. It is important to end the illegal practice of partial implementation of the law which is a criminal offence and which causes the problem to become even more complicated and difficult.

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Also there is a petition you can sign, but it is our experience these petitions do not make much difference. It is better to send emails and letters as suggested above.

Two videos from AWABosnia’s visit to Sarajevo in 2014:

 


Please read related articles/blogs on this site for more information:
Stray Dogs in Sarajevo: a documentary
Dog Catchers of Sarajevo: Latest news
Disturbing Irregularities found in Dog Catching Service of Sarajevo
The Dog Catchers of Sarajevo are Back
Pope’s Visit to Sarajevo Means Death for Dogs

Sarajevo Demonstrations Against Illesgal Dog Catchers
Former Military Base in Sarajevo involved in dog killing?
“DOG-CATCHERS” OF SARAJEVO CAUGHT IN ACTION!
AUTHORISED SLAUGHTER OF DOGS IN SARAJEVO
2014: What is happening to the strays of Bosnia Herzegovina?
Animal Advocates Assaulted in Sarajevo
Bosnia: Let’s Respect Animals and their Right to Life
Veterinary Office of Bosnia: is it possible to solve the problem of stray dogs?
The “Aggressive” Dogs of Sarajevo
The Campaign Begins With a Slaughter: You will kill the dogs, but what will you do with the beasts?
Stray Dogs of Sarajevo to be Killed in Election Ploy
Stop the Killing of Strays in Sarajevo
Bosnia: Sarajevo set to become the next Bucharest
BOSNIA: kill and slaughter until the dog is no more…
Bosnia Killing Dogs – No Different to Romania!
ANTI KILL-LAW FIGHT – NOW WHAT?

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DONATIONS

Funds are needed to help individual rescues, for spay-neuter projects, for education 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: 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 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. Even just one dollar or one euro will help make a difference.