Behind closed doors of a concentration camp for stray dogs
Praca is a shelter for stray dogs in Bosnia, owned by the private company Murai commerce Ltd. Vogosca. This company is owned by Muriz Alic, a businessman very close to the Bosnian authorities.
The shelter was opened in 2012 despite the fact that it was not built in accordance with the provisions of the Bosnian Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals nor the Ordinance on establishing and conditions that shelters for stray animals must fulfil,
This illegal decision and the contract between the owner of Praca and the prime minister of Canton Sarajevo is the reason the shelter was not in fact built in Sarajevo Canton (a canton is an administrative division).
The problem has always been that dogs are caught in Canton Sarajevo but it is the veterinary inspection of Podrinje Canton – not Sarajevo – who is authorised to check the dogs.
Also, it was illegal to sign a contract with the owner of Praca without public contract award procedures.
How many dogs have died in Praca, no one knows.
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. This law, as well as related by-laws is the main legal framework for all other laws and by-laws that are enacted by the legislative authorities at any level of organization of authority in Bosnia and Herzegovina which regulate the relation, keeping and treatment of animals.
According to provisions these laws every municipality is obliged to establish and finance shelters for stray animals as well as hygienic services, which are obliged to catch and transport stray animals to veterinary stations and shelters.
Two very important ordinances were legislated in 2010: ordinances on establishing shelters and the conditions that shelters for stray animals and hygienic services must fulfil.
Both ordinances provide very strict and humane ways of establishing and maintaining of shelters and hygienic services.
And yet Praca is the biggest horror shelter in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Muriz Alic is one of the politically eligible persons who construct so-called shelters for stray animals. These shelters are in fact concentration camps. False spay/neuter programs are invoiced for, so too food which the animals never receive. Veterinary examinations and treatment, and the means for euthanasia are invoiced for. In fact animals are abused and killed in these shelters. They do not have water, food or suitable accommodation. They freeze in winter and in summer are exposed to extremely high temperatures.
This poor boy shared a pen with 2 other dogs. Sarajevo rescuer Caki Bravo wrote: “Monsters took them both and killed… blood is in box.. his friends were fighting with killers 😦 they were very friendly dogs… This one was hiding from them I guess and because of that he is not killed.”
While all these atrocities happen, local authorities finance people who own these shelters.
We believe thousands of dogs have been killed or have died of hunger and diseases in Praca since 2012. Preliminary information from an “investigation source” tells us that more than 2 million Euros has been allocated for dogs from the budget of Canton Sarajevo, but this money has never been used for food, veterinary care or improving conditions in the shelter. Money has disappeared into the pockets of the authorities of Canton Sarajevo.
Volunteers and activists have been visiting Praca for years. Donations from people outside of Bosnia and the work of the volunteers is the only source of food, veterinary care and rehoming for dogs in the shelter. But the prime minister of Canton Sarajevo Elmedin Dino Konakovic, the most notorious of all persons in this story, has other plans.
P.C. Veterinary station Ltd. Sarajevo, Veterinary Inspection of Canton Sarajevo and the Veterinary faculty of the University of Sarajevo are conducting a project called “Monitoring of Infectious and Parasitic Diseases of Zoonotic Type of the Population of Stray dogs in Sarajevo“. This project is the instigator of a mass action concerning catching and removal of stray dogs.
The project is valued at 133.000 KM, approximately 68,205.00 Euros. This project provides funding for the euthanasia of 300 dogs, which are assumed to be sick (i.e. without any medical examination). Essentially, in preparing the project, authorities have decided to illegally kill almost all dogs.
According to this project, funds are also provided for 500 dogs to be microchipped, vaccinated and placed in shelters (which are illegal since they do not comply with the laws). There is no clear information what will be done with a further 200 dogs which the project also provides funds for catching.
According to provisions of the animal welfare laws of Bosnia and Herzegovina, it’s prohibited to kill dogs that can treated and cured by veterinarians. Also, according the provisions, it is strictly prohibited to experiment on stray animals.
In addition, by law, only the Veterinary Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina is obliged to control diseases amongst the population of all animal species in the country and only the Veterinary Office can conduct projects of control, prevention and suppression of such diseases.
The Act for the Protection and Welfare of Animals is the main legislation concerning treatment of animals in Bosnia. Authorities of one canton (administrative division) must implement this law and it is a criminal offence to finance activities that are done in accordance with illegal decisions of lower level authorities.
It is important to emphasise that 68,205.00 Euros is allocated for this one project, a project that is used as a ‘reason’ for the mass removal of stray dogs from the streets of Sarajevo. Hundreds of thousands of Euros are allocated for the hygienic services as well as for shelters – both of which are not running in accordance with the laws – and these funds will be laundered through these hygienic services and shelters which deal inhumanely with the animals. These hygienic services and shelters receive funding for food, medications, treatment, and the catching of stray animals, but the animals do not receive any of this.
The official report says that 2000 dogs have arrived in Praca since 2016, yet 200 dogs is the number in the shelter now.
Activists take and re-home as many dogs as it is possible but still it is not known what has happened to more than 1000 dogs from Praca.
On the 4th October World Animal Protection Day activists arrived and brought 500 kg of food to Praca. They found part of kennels covered in blood and dogs had disappeared.
It was confirmed that veterinarians of Cantonal Veterinary Station ltd. of Canton Sarajevo killed the dogs by direct order of the director Almir Dzankovic.
Cantonal Veterinary station Ltd. is essentially a dog slaughter house, so too the public company veterinary station Novi Grad ltd., by Lokom. These veterinary stations are financed by Government of Canton Sarajevo.
When activists found out that dogs had disappeared, they reported the case to the Bosnian Podrinje Proscuteros’s office. The investigation is being conducted.
The quick reaction of activists stopped the plans to kill more dogs in Praca. But dogs are suffering in awful conditions there.
More than 50 activists were in Praca last Sunday. When they arrived, they saw police there. Someone, and that someone surely was the owner of Praca and his coordinator, told the police that they organised an unorthorised demonstration. I explained to the police officer that according to Ordinance of establishing of shelters and conditions that shelters for stray animals must fulfill, everyone is allowed to visit the shelter every day and that the coordinator (Hamdo Alic) had wanted to cause problems because there were so many of us. When we entered into Praca, we saw horror that activists had been seeing for months…
Hamdo Alic threatened the journalist of Zurnal who was recording dead bodies that had been found in the shelter. Hamdo Alic said he had a gun and he would kill all activists.
The activists will not give up. They are preparing amass demonstration on the 11th November. They will need all possible help to organise a high level protest. Media and newspapers are covering this story daily. Activists they need support from embassies and foreign medias.
We are in possession of an official document signed by the main prosecutor of Canton Sarajevo, Dalida Burzic, who stated the following: “…funds that had been allocated for dogs, were stolen without any doubt, and the question remains where dogs have disappeared to…” The number of this case is T 09 KTP 0072282 16 2.
The government of Canton Sarajevo is planning to buy Praca shelter from Muriz Alic and his company. This is illegal since the government of Canton can’t own a public company in another canton. Praca isn’t placed in Canton Sarajevo. This means that the plan is to kill all dogs that are placed in the shelter and it has been confirmed from many sources.
Dalida Kozlic L.L.B, lawyer and activist
Media coverage of the crisis:
Dnevni Avaz article: the truth always finds the way to the public. Thank you to Bajramovic Alen. Interview with Dalida Kozlic concerning the killing of stray dogs in Sarajevo and the criminality and corruption behind the abuse of dogs in public shelters.
HOW TO HELP:
Please join the protest on 11.11. Organise a protest in your own country/town.
Please support the many rescuers and activists. They need everything from moral support to financial help to keep the rescued animals safe or transported out of the country.
We are part of the solution / Mi smo dio rješenja – Facebook group
Below are the addresses to write to for the company who have a contract for Praca. Please be polite.
The head of Sarajevo canton district (who ordered the round up of dogs last year, during the Sarajevo film festival to clear 7000 dogs from the streets) firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of company running Praca – email@example.com
Head of local council – firstname.lastname@example.org
The mayor of Sarejevo – email@example.com
Vet who killed the dogs – firstname.lastname@example.org
British Embassy in Sarejevo – email@example.com
Bosnian Embassy in London – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bosnian Embassy in Berlin – email@example.com
Dogs Trust – firstname.lastname@example.org
Dogs Trust Bosnia FB page – message this page: https://www.facebook.com/DogsTrustBiH/
IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare) – email@example.com
Network For Animals – firstname.lastname@example.org
World Animal Protection – email@example.com
Other ways to help can be found 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.