Evidence of crimes against dogs ignored!

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 22.40.08There are several recent blogs recently on this issue. Please see, in particular, “Illegal Catching and Killing of Dogs in Sarajevo” for information on how to help stop this abuse.

Dalida Kozlic, lawyer and activist in BiH writes:

14031025_10208713506628666_1293992042_nAs we have already written, a massacre of strays is being performed by te authorities of Canton Sarajevo. The Government of Canton Sarajevo during its session on the 30th June issued a decision ordering the hygienic service of Public utility company of KJKP Rad. Ltd. Sarajevo and Public company „Veterinary station“ Ltd. Sarajevo to start mass catching of stray dogs in Sarajevo. If you have read the recent blogs you will know there is not place to put caught dogs: legal shelters with adequate capacities do not exist at all, and yet the Government of Canton Sarajevo has signed a contract with a notorious – and illegal – hygienic service, P.E. “Lokum” of Novi Grad, Ltd. Novi Grad Sarajevo, and its veterinary station to catch and ‘remove’ stray dogs in Reljevo. Where to, we ask?

Lokum was established in the municipality of Novi Grad Sarajevo on the 30th May of 2013. This so-called “Hygienic service” was not established and registered in accordance with article 29 of Bosnia’s Animal Protection and Welfare Act nor in accordance with the laws that establish the conditions hygienic services must fulfil.

Since then, thousands of stray dogs have been killed in Sarajevo.

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 22.42.36This illegal hygienic service invoices for food, medications, veterinary services, placement, fuel, and catching of dogs for placement in shelters. Note that these invoices are for dogs who are dead, killed by the service.

Evidence for this was presented to the Bosnian police officers and prosecutors. The Prosecutor’s office of Canton Sarajevo had started investigating the allegations and evidence I presented in numerous criminal reports against Lokum. It is one of the most severe violations of the Criminal Code in Bosnian history.

When the investigation was re-launched due to critical mistakes of the previous prosecutor, Dalida received 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 15.

14081195_10208713501268532_527581251_nThe investigation was re-launched because Milutin Koprivica, who had initially led the investigation, broke the provisions of the Criminal Code of Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and had obstructed the initial investigation.

However, although the new investigation is being conducted, Prosecutor Dalida Burzic who clearly understood funds were being stolen and dogs ‘disappearing’,  is ignoring the fact that the dog catchers of Lokom have begun working again and that her legal obligation is to require suspension of their activities until the investigation is completed. Also, there is evidence of criminal offences committed by the prime minister of Canton Sarajevo and his partners and criminal financing of the crimes of dog catchers of Rad, and these crimes are ongoing.

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 22.43.38A few videos have appeared of the dog catchers at work, on 17th and 18th August. One video shows an extremely brutal catching of stray dogs in Ilidza, Sarajevo, and another video also shows a brutal catching of puppies in Sarajevo. On the first video, you can hear people begging dog catchers to leave dog alone.

It is more than obvious that the authorities of Canton Sarajevo are allowed to commit very serious criminal offences, while one of the biggest investigations of money laundering and killing of stray dogs is being conducted and yet the prosecutors do not fulfil their legal obligation to stop these on-going crimes.

Screen Shot 2016-08-20 at 22.43.12I am aware that the videos below are graphic, but please watch them and help us to force our authorities to stop this massacre. Please, write to your embassies, only international pressure can help. Bosnian authorities must be literally forced by embassies and western politicians to end these crimes against innocent animals and to prosecute those who are responsible.

For information on how to help stop this abuse, with a draft letter, click here scroll to the bottom of the post.

RAD dog catchers in action, Sarajevo, 17th August:

Lokom dog catchers in action again, Sarajevo, 18th August

Lokom dog catchers in action again, Sarajevo, 18th August

Dalida Kozlic L.L.B, lawyer

For information on how to help stop this abuse, with a draft letter, scroll to the bottom of this post.

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

Illegal Catching and Killing of Dogs in Sarajevo
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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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.

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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Screen Shot 2016-05-17 at 18.09.08
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.

______________________________________________

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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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.

Another attack on activists trying to save dogs

10338314_669169486483282_5388223137706534855_nAs reported on Taco.net, two days ago Edina Pašić of the animal rescue charity Andjeo Sarajevo and Fahrudin Bravo were assaulted when they attempted to prevent the catching of dogs in Ilijaš, a municipality located north east of the inner city of Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  Edin Ismo, one of the dog catchers, lashed out with his keys at Fahrudin Bravo, causing multiple facial cuts. Edina Pašić was also injured as she tried to intervene. Fahrudin Bravo was arrested and held for 24 hours. Edina Pašić was assisted by friends and treated in emergency care.  Both have been charged for “obstruction of officers in their work”.

This would not be so hard if we managed to save the dogs,’ said Edina Pašić. ‘We have been told that nine puppies have been killed.’

Lawyer and animal welfare activist Dalida Kozlić states that the charges against the activists will not be accepted by the court since the charges are for obstructing the work of “authorised” personnel, and the dog catchers are not authorised official persons.

The dog catchers are employed by the ‘hygiene service’ created by Semir Efendic, the Mayor of Sarajevo’s Novi Grad Municipality. The intentions behind this ‘hygiene service’ are not to implement humane and effective methods of population control like TNR (trap-neuter-return) but, in a ploy to garner public support, to simply eliminate the stray dog population by any means possible. For more information about the infamous (and illegal) ‘hygiene service’ of Sarajevo please see Stray Dogs of Sarajevo to be Killed in Election Ploy.

If you want to help, funds are desperately needed to support the ongoing legal investigation of and action against the activities of the dog-catchers and ‘hygiene service’. Please donate whatever you can to assist – nothing is too small. You can donate via Paypal to donations@awabosnia.org and mark your donation for ‘advocacy and legal costs’.  

You can also donate to assist reportage of the activities via Journalists for Animals

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Related articles:

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!

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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.

paypal_banner

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.

Bosnia: Let’s Respect Animals and their Right to Life

sv2-635x300The following is a translation of an interview with Snezana Vidovic, President of the association animal rescue and protection, Sapa Zenica. The interview was published on Taco.net on 4.10.2014, and the interviewer was Jelena Paunovic from Journalists For Animals. 

Snezana Vidovic: Let’s respect animals and their right to life

The entire world marks April 4th as the World Stray Animals Day. Five years after the Animal Protection and Welfare law came into effect, the situation for stray and uncared for animals on the streets of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) remains difficult. We spoke to Snezana Vidovic, President of the association for protection and animal rescue “SAPA Zenica” from Zenica, regarding the law, solutions to this problem, and the role of organizations in protecting animals.

Interview by: Jelena Paunovic

Today is October 4th, the World Animal Day. How do you view this date?

P1020072In celebration of the World Animal Day, the Association SAPA Zenica has for many years organized events, information stands, educational materials, sterilization weekends, film projections, workshops for children with an aim to help the general public, our fellow citizens to understand animal protection, to help them think about our relationships with animals and the need to respect and protect them, and to underline the idea that animal protection is an important social question. During these days we are reminding the public of the role of animals in our society, the way they are enriching and improving our lives, and how to treat them and to become a responsible society.

More than ever, it is important for us to be loud, united, and visible in the battle for those for whom we are the only voice.

October 4th is not a day of celebration, but for fighting and sending a clear message to a society that is tolerant of animal violence, abandonment, abuse, breaking laws, mistreatment of animals for various purposes as well as their slaughter; this is our daily reality for which we must be held responsible.

Every day we hear about how the Animal Protection and Welfare Law of BiH is not good and that it must be changed. Is that true? Would changes to the law lead to solutions?

P1020046

Strays fed by SAPA Zenica volunteers


Unfortunately, we are witnesses to the conversations about the Law for five years, and those in power are either not implementing it or partially implementing it. For five years the attempt to adopt sub-regulations regarding identification of pets has been obstructed; for five years no one has been fined for abandoning their pets (we have the highest rate of pet abandonment in Europe), for five years no one has been fined for animal abuse; for five years there has not been a systematic approach to sterilization across BiH, for five years the inspection authorities across BiH have failed to conduct inspections and oversight of shelters, which are in fact torture camps for animals that exist under dubious and even criminal conditions and hygienic services operating outside of the law and subordinate regulations; for five years BiH has lacked a central registry of pet that will lead to EU sanctions; for five years BiH has lacked an Ethic Committee and Advisory Council; for five years the majority of counties in the country have not implemented sterilization programs, built shelters, or establishing hygienic services; for five years no one was sanctioned for obstructing the implementation of the law; and for five years the authorities have been telling us that they cannot implement the law without offering a single reasonable explanation, but we conclude that these reasons are incompetence, inaction, ignorance, and unwillingness to eliminate practices that have failed for decades. Responsible societies do not debate whether or not to implement the law; responsible societies execute adopted regulations and seek solutions for problems which they created.

Here, the authorities allow problems to escalate; they contribute to public polarization and instigate the media propaganda machine to support an ad hoc method of slaughter, elimination, and removal of animals five years after failing to implement the law because now they see this as preventative measure under the guise of public security. There is not a word about causes, not a word about why the law was not implemented for five years, and not a word about their accountability. In the election period, the multiyear inactivity and incompetence is now being packaged as simulated action in response to the growing public pressure.

P1020068

SAPA Zenica volunteers feeding strays

The campaign against the law demonstrates the immaturity of BiH society and the unwillingness of the authorities and the relevant profession to accept responsibility for resolving the problem that was created by our own society. This law doesn’t only address the dogs on the streets, but many other segments that need to be addressed and are being ignored such as transport, farming conditions, welfare, cultivation, protection of wildlife, laboratory animals, establishment of an Ethic Committee and other similar matters.

This law has demonstrated to us the pitiful state of the veterinary field and just the number of veterinarians and veterinary inspectors who are unable to understand their role in implementing the law or understanding the trends in the areas of animal protection and welfare. We still have veterinarians who are advising pet owners against sterilization, inspectors who do not understand the processes of animal registry or the use of microchipping, or who has oversight over certain parts of the law and relevant regulations. The state of the veterinary profession across BiH and its continuing murder of street dogs is as if they have never heard of the law or their oversight responsibilities, and places it in the light as simply the agent of politically-motivated and illegal decisions, or in a role of a silent observer.

P1020157

Rescued from the streets of Zenica

Every law can be changed, however we will never resolve the problem if we seek to change it in the way that it only represents the view of one political party, in a selective way that does not contribute to the solution, only creating further confusion and raising legal insecurity, and completely absolving the years-long inactivity of those responsible; keeping parts of the law considered to be unenforceable and adding responsibilities that are not preventative in nature, obstructing adoption of animals, not highlighting preventative measures and resolving the causes of the problem, hiding behind unenforceable and expensive laws and forgetting to explain to the electorate that the problem will not be resolved and it will be the same as before 2009, year after year just adding more resources for the purposes of killing. Here we are talking about the difference between the implementation of preventative measures in their entirety, which would bring about the solution in half the time that it would take to continue to consistently give resources for killing. This means that preventative measures could not be undertaken because of the cost, but funds for killing will be available year after year because no one has informed the public that there will be dogs on the streets for as long as there are bad owners, illegal breeders, incompetent inspectors, veterinarians, authorities; but that is not important, it is easier to kill than to truly address the root cause of the problem, it is easier to kill than to build a system and establish a foundation for implementing a punishment system which would help sustain the state budget.

sv1Who is responsible for the condition of abandoned animals on the streets of BiH cities?

Those who have for five years been startled by the law and who for five years have been talking about how the pre-conditions have not been met, so they continued to NOT meet those conditions for the next five years. Those who for five years have not moved their finger to institute a registry, punish and discourage animal abandonment; those who did not implement sterilization, those whose contributions have escalated the problem, and who are now trying to flip the script and shift the focus away from their inactivity and irresponsibility to the dogs on the streets. Solving the problem does not mean removing, eliminating, and killing dogs. But this is not in accordance with the populist rhetoric which we are exposed to every day from other residents and dogs will remain on the streets for as long as the systematic solution does not entail a consolidated approach to registration, punishment, sterilization of pets and abandoned animals, establishment of shelters, as well as creating conditions to enable a functioning system.

P1020187

Rescued from the streets of Zenica

Encouraging ad hoc illegal solutions, or changes to the law similar to those from last year do not contribute to building of a system of good practices, eliminating the problem, and improving the standard of the veterinary profession, but it misleads all of those interested. Only through the full implementation of the existing law and with focus on preventative measures can we solve this problem.

Seven years of continual killing has barely reduced the number of street dogs by 32.5 percent, while five years of implementing preventative measures of sterilization and preventing new generations of abandoned animals would lead to a 95 percent reduction in the abandoned animal population.

But here no one is conducting an analysis of the absorption capacity of one region, or an analysis of the structure of street dogs and all contributing factors to the population growth, including the mentality, behavior of pet ownership and similar things. It is critical to consider this problem from the sociological and phenomenological points of view.

What are your views on the situation in Sarajevo?

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Rescued from the streets of Zenica

What we are witnessing in Sarajevo is that the beginning of the political campaign has opened a hunting season on the dogs, a typical witch hunt, anarchy, fragmentation, and the most blatant breaking of the law thus far, for which we hope those responsible will be held responsible on all level of the state judiciary.

“Either a legal state or a Sarajevo without dogs” is the most shameful political trick and pre-election promise which has provided the hygienic services permission to indiscriminately catch dogs, take them to an unknown location or obscure locations in the vicinity of Sarajevo like concentration camps to which the dogs may or may not be brought to. Inspectors are silent and watching, criminal charges are mounting and will be processed sooner or later, and Sarajevo is filling newspaper articles about how it has become the city in which animals are being slaughtered.

Everything that we are seeing as part of the pre-election campaign will have repercussions in the field and will destroy the small chance we have to bring back trust in the system and the profession, while it will not lead to the solution of the problem.

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Rescued from the streets of Zenica

Someone will have to provide answers to the questions regarding the dogs, such as from which locations they were taken, who ordered it, were they sterilized or not, where are female dogs with puppies disappearing to, what is the number of euthanized dogs and where are their bodies located? Very soon someone will have to answer for these actions and provide answers to these questions.

It is critical to establish a system and a centralized method to humanely control the population of stray dogs in Canton Sarajevo, but these actions are not building a system or creating trust in it. This is not the way to implement the law, especially Article 14 of the law which is being misused. The law must be implemented in its entirety and with the intent to prevent the cause of the problem through oversight and monetary fines.

Instead of building a system and a tolerant society, the agitators are calling for the spread of fear and hatred, misunderstanding, and are joined by educators who are purposely supported by the teacher’s union. Dogs are always present, visible, an easy target to take away the focus off of other burning election and nonelection related topics. The question is for how long the electorate will be vulnerable to the same trickery. At the same time I am not denying that the problem exists, but I am pointing out that this is not the way to solve the problem. This is not a question of love, but the question of choice between good and bad practice with the full understanding that residents expect a magical solution to a city without dogs; this problem cannot be solved overnight but gradually, especially because some residents are contributing to the problem. All of the other promises are insincere and are just another lie fed to the public. The easier way is not the right way. Everything that is occurring in Sarajevo today and across other cities in BiH is at the cost of animal lives while the authorities remain silent, which makes it a criminal activity.

Studies across the world have shown that the catch-sterilize-release method is the most efficient in terms of animal population control. Why has that method failed to produce results in BiH?

P1020078Catch-sterilize-release method is the most effective way of controlling population in mid and long term. But, like any other method, it cannot bring about a solution if it’s conducted in isolation; it must work hand in hand with registration of all pets, fines for abandonment of pets, education in terms of responsible pet ownership, sterilization of pet and promotion of pet adoption. In a situation where you are conducting sterilization of the current generation of abandoned animals while you are receiving new generations of abandoned pets or stray dogs, or those that are migrating from other regions, you will not see a positive drop in the population; in this case, the best case scenario would be population stagnation. You cannot expect to conduct sterilization in just a few cities across BiH and achieve success. It is critical to have a systematic and continuous approach, and for years we have been fighting for a country-level strategy for implementation of catch-sterilize-release program. I am sure that a program like this would offer BiH support from big international organizations, even resources from IPA funds because a project like this would also mandate rabies vaccinations for all dogs. Moreover, continuity is critical for sterilization efforts to be effective; recommendations from all global authorities on the matter state that sterilization must be conducted in a way that would encompass as large of a population in the shortest time possible in order to ensure that while you are working on one generation, you are not absorbing a new generation due to the prolonged duration of the project. So, continuity, a comprehensive approach, and focus are needed.

One dog removed from the street is replaced by another one; that has been empirically and scientifically proven.

After seven years of continuous killings, the dog population on the streets has been reduced by nearly 32.5 percent. While after 5 years of implementing preventative measure such as sterilization to impede new generations reduced the number of abandoned animals by 95 percent. The calculation is clear, exact, and unequivocal.

sv3The media has reported that a shelter for abandoned animals is under construction. The cost of the project is 250,000 KM, while the capacity of the shelter will be 60 dogs. Do you think it is critical to invest that amount of funds? And, do you think that the shelter will resolve the problem?

There is a general misunderstanding of the purpose and function of animal shelters. Shelters are not the only measure for resolving the problem of stray dogs, but they are needed as one of the critical pieces in controlling the population of abandoned animals; besides, opening shelters is mandated by law. Good shelters are built in accordance with professional standards and conditions directed by law and relevant acts. What’s more important is that the shelter is managed properly and in accordance with standard operating procedures and practices. The better the shelter and the management are, the better is the security of the animals, their health (less risk of diseases spreading), and less cost for veterinary costs. A shelter in which animals are taken care of and have regular veterinary care and food, and where the hygiene standard is maintained, have a much greater chances for taking steps to being adopted or something similar. You must invest money is certain projects in order to receive a return on investment. I cannot state an opinion at this moment as we are talking about an incomplete project in Zenica, but we are as always available to help with education, implementing good practices, and developing guides, instructions, and similar.

P1020061Shelters are necessary in order to remove certain animals from the street, such as those that may have behavioral issues and require monitoring and socialization, or those in need of veterinary care, or those that are candidates for adoption, including puppies or small dogs that have difficulties surviving on the streets. Function of shelters and their purpose is not to accumulate large numbers of animals in one place while the cost grows. We will never be able to remove all dogs from the streets and that is not even the purpose of shelters. Their function is to help us remove those that can no longer survive on the streets and for the purposes of adopting them. Shelters are not waiting rooms for death or a gathering places for animals waiting in line to be euthanized. Shelters should not be like the modern Alcatraz, but should be places that have an open door policy, transparency, are responsible and have a work ethic, and are places that you want to visit to adopt a dog. In the meantime, catch-sterilize-release projects as well as registration of pet owners and breeders must take place precisely because they are financially sustainable and will deter animal abandonment. This is the only way forward in addition to education, changing minds and bad habits of animal ownership, elevating standards of the veterinary profession and education of veterinarians, controlling waste and the environment in order to produce mid-term results; therefore, consolidate all known preventative measures.

The problem of abandoned dogs must be analyzed through phenomenological sociology, and provide an overview of all causes, including people’s habits, structure of animal owners, structure of animal owners by gender, age, sterilization, the method of homing dogs (house or on the chain), motives behind having pets, etc. For example, an analysis of 100 abandoned dogs demonstrated that 80 percent of full bred and mixed dogs had familiar owners and are dogs that are young or old sick dogs. We must educate pet owners, change culture of pet ownerships, and our relationships with animals. That is a process and all citizens must participate, including pet owners, nongovernmental organizations, and veterinarians. Unfortunately, the veterinary profession has not responded to this problem in a responsible and ethical way.

In your opinion, are we being manipulated by information on dog biting?

Information on dog biting is definitely being manipulated both from the statistical and political point of view for purposes of scaring the public, hiding the authorities’ incompetence to solve the problem, and demonstrating that the problem is unsolvable and using this to take attention away from other problems or causes of this problem.

P1020069It’s almost as if a part of the public and the political elite actually likes it when a dog bites a person because they can use that to justify a witch hunt against dogs, which crosses into the domain of psychopathology. We see this daily and it constantly forces us to deal with the consequences and not the cause for having so many dogs on the streets.

Statistics regarding dog bites and attacks are often used to justify public fears and an unjustified hysteria that has been coming and going for years now. These fears are allowed to escalate and when that happens all reasonable solutions appears impossible, which the acclaimed journalist, Ozren Kebo, best described in a recent article for Gracija, and then everyone skillfully hides behind that “impossibility” to solve the problem and instead calls for ad hoc “solutions” known as mass slaughter. At the same time no one is held accountable for the fact that the law has not been implemented for 5 years and that the problem escalated, but who is allowing it to escalate and who is preventing the implementation of prevention measures mandated by law is unclear and questionless. No, because it is easier to kill under the guise of public safety than to implement the law and preventative measures, develop a system, regain trust in the system and the profession, register pets, and punish irresponsible pet owners which also generate state funds. But that would require for someone to do their job, but that is obviously impossible or difficult because to start someone would need to tell our citizens the truth that there will always be stray dogs as long as there are irresponsible owners, illegal breeders, incompetent veterinarians, inspectors who ignore their work, and that the problem which has been created over decades in best case scenario can be resolved in a few years, and not just during the month of election campaigning.

A good number of dog bites can be attributed to owned dogs, and we are hardly ever provided an analysis of the situation that led to the dog attack or if a certain number of attacks is initiated by the same group of dogs. That type of analysis is critical to resolving the problem responsibly and to exclusively removing dogs that are shown to have unstable behavior.

You are the leader of Association “SAPA Zencia.” Since 2009, you have conducted 23,000 interventions in the field, you have adopted 700 dogs, you lead education campaigns, serve as an informal information center, and you have conducted 2000 cases of catch-sterilize-release. Who did you manage to accomplish all of that? Does the Zenica County provide financial support for that work?

P1020066Association SAPA Zenica is a small team of hardworking, loyal, dedicated and motivated volunteers, which since 2009 have unselfishly fought by giving our time, love, money, and working in very hostile environments and being exposed to attacks, insults, and threats as well as being vilified. Surviving in that environment and preserving our Association as a public service in the framework of animal rights and a partner to other stakeholders is absolutely an achievement. To resist all attacks, challenges, attempts to divide us, and to preserve a unified front in Zenica, a city that may have the highest number of stray dogs within its and surrounding counties, is something that we are very proud of. SAPA is characterized by big internal strength and unity, its ability to see the big picture, and a sense of responsibility that we have accepted as a group of volunteers; it’s our wish to survive and contribute to the society in terms of resolving the problem connected to animals and to change consciousness and to show that we can and we should be recognized by the authorities as a strong partner working P1020060from the place of understanding, knowledge, and experience. It is hard to survive because there are many challenges and the public refuses to understand the causes of the problem and look at the big picture; instead they view the problem selectively, call for ad hoc solutions and it is very difficult to convince the public that we cannot resolve this problem overnight especially if we are not doing any prevention and dealing with the causes of that problem. It’s hard because the moment when you choose to be a volunteer in our society, there is an effort to destroy you instead of supporting you, and you are vilified and accused of being the reason for the existence of stray dogs because if you were not there, the dogs would be cold-bloodedly killed; and we just keep going in circles without holding accountable those who are truly responsible and going forth bravely by admitting that the only solution is to have prevention and implement consolidated measures. The majority of people hate you, accuse you but also have demands because they are confusing oversight and responsibility and not understanding that you as a volunteer wish to be there even if there are limits to the possibilities. Association Sapa Zenica has always known what it wants, we have a vision and a wish to do this volunteer work for the rest of our lives because animal protection is not a hobby to fill free time when you have nothing better to do, as some see it, but it is a way of life.

P1020153

Rescued from the streets of Zenica

To answer your other question, Zenica County does not finance the work of the Association Sapa Zenica. Our work and activities are financed by our members and sympathizers, and it includes the cost of animal health, number of procedures, shelter fees, food, medicine, sterilization projects and other logistical costs, education materials and similar things. Some of our sterilization projects have been financed by international organizations which covered the cost of some logistics and veterinarian fees. Zenica County does provide partial financial resources for sterilization project up until 2013, which fulfilled some of its law mandated responsibilities in implementing Article 43 of the Animal Protection and welfare Law to provide medicine and materials for conducting sterilization and providing vaccinations. The Zenica County provided financial resources in 2010 and 2012 to a veterinary facility to promote animal health, for which we are grateful, and it covered 20 percent of the needs and costs just in Zenica; this didn’t include the cost associated with transporting animals from Zenica to Sarajevo for operations and diagnostic procedures.

Recently rescued from the streets by SAPA Zenica volunteers

Recently rescued from the streets by SAPA Zenica volunteers

Without outside help, Association SAPA has financed all of its logistics since 2009 with the help of its members. These project-related costs include transportation for catching and returning animals, food, hygienic equipment, some medicine, diapers and similar things. For years we have covered our own costs of rescuing in Zenica, and a number of other operational costs. We have a growing number of wounded and sick animals, growing needs and we need help. [To help SAPA Zenica, please see the end of the article]

Do you collaborate with international organizations for protection and welfare of dogs?

Association SAPA Zenica works with a number of organizations in BiH and outside of the country on education, pet adoption, sterilization projects, exchange of knowledge and experiences. Every day we are learning.

Ms. Vidovic, do you have a pet?

I have two girl dogs, Tyru and Suska. Both were adopted from the streets and that happened during my son’s first year. Tyra is with us since 2010 and she was saved as a baby with a difficult injury to her hip and legs. Suska was adopted from the street as a puppy as well in 2011 when she was about three months old; we found her in a state of hunger and with a difficult skin condition which was successfully treated. They are truly members of our family and are daily enriching our lives; they remind us that animals are a blessing. We are surrounded by prejudice, and with a lack of knowledge people sink into delusion; they think that if you have a child, you cannot have a dog, or two dogs. Everything can be done without problems and stress, it just requires a little good will and open hearts and mind, and children who grow up with animals are shown to be better, more empathetic and responsible people. We have indescribable luck to have Tyra and Suska in our lives. To all people thinking about getting a pet, I recommend that you adopt an abandoned animal and not to buy animals, but to open their doors to street dogs and cat, and they just might be waiting for you. Their affection and love are our biggest gift.

Message for the end

Let’s respect animals and their right to life. Let’s not allow to have other create fears and hatred in us. Let’s not sink into delusion and allow others to manipulate us. Let’s open our hearts and mind for others and those different than us and understand that we are not the only ones on the planet, ruling over life and death.

P1020139

Rescued from the streets of Zenica

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Many of the photographs in this blog were taken during a recent visit to meet the volunteers of SAPA Zenica and the dogs they help. If you wish to support SAPA Zenica in their work in Bosnia Herzegovina, donations can be made via bank transfer to:

UniCredit Bank d.d.
SWIFT: UNCRBA22
Address of the bank: Kardinala Stepinca b.b. Mostar
Details of beneficiary:
IBAN CODE: BA393385804819527135
Full beneficiary’s name: Udruzenje za spasavanje i zastitu zovotinja SAPA Zenica
Full beneficiaries address: Fra Grge Martica 15

Or you can make a donation via Paypal to AWABosnia (details below), but please be sure to mark your donation for ‘SAPA Zenica’.

For more information about SAPA Zenica, please email: sapa.zenica@gmail.com

Petitions:

BOSNIA! IMPLEMENT HUMANE STRAY-DOG AND CAT POPULATION CONTROL AND TREATMENT
Stop massive killing of dogs in Sarajevo
Petition to save Bosnia’s stray dogs! Please sign!
Also see the petitions on the Petitions page.

Related articles in this blog:

Veterinary Office of Bosnia: is it possible to solve the problem of stray dog?
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!

Related media:

Ambassador’s Notes: Embassy Sarajevo Views from U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Jelena Paunović: I got bi’en by a dog in the election campaign /  Jelena Paunović: Uj’o me cuko u predizbornoj kampanji
Masovni pokolj pasa u KS košta 680.000 KMMassive dog slaughter in Canton Sarajevo will cost 340 000 EUR
AlJazeera: Kontekst: Problem zbrinjavanja pasa u Sarajevu  (Context: The problem of disposal of dogs in Sarajevo)
Emergency phone numbers available for Canton Sarajevo residents to report dog attacks / Hitni telefoni za prijavu napada pasa dostupni građanima KS
Criminal Charges Pressed Against Acting Prime Minister in The Government of Sarajevo Due to Forming Illegal Dog Catching Service
Bosnia: Sarajevo creates unit ‘to catch stray dogs’
U državama u kojima ne vlada zakon prava, vlada zakon linča
Stranka za BiH: Odluka Vlade KS o uklanjanju napuštenih pasa je neustavna i nezakonita
Sarajevo: Podnesena kaznena prijava zbog formiranja ilegalnog šintorskog servisa

 

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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 as a ‘gift’. Click on the image below to be taken to PayPal’s home page.

paypal_banner

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.

Veterinary Office of Bosnia: is it possible to solve the problem of stray dogs?

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Gladno Polje ‘Shelter’ in Sarajevo, BiH

The following is a translation of an interview with Inga Dujmovic, Senior Associate of the State Veterinary Inspector for animal welfare in Bosnia Herzegovina.

Interview with Inga Dujmovic: Veterinary Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina has jurisdiction but so far we have not undertaken inspections of dog shelters
Published on the BiH media portal Taco.net 04/10/2014
Author: Predrag Blagovčanin

ingaState law on the protection and welfare of animals was passed in 2009. This law clearly defined the solution to the problem of abandoned street dogs and a series of subordinate regulations were adopted which fully encompassed the protection of animals in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). We spoke with Inga Dujmovic, State Veterinary Inspector for control of animal welfare regarding the lack of implementation of the law for years, the work and jurisdiction of the Veterinary Office of BiH, the problem of stray dogs, and a number of other issues.

Interview By: Predrag Blagovcanin

Are you satisfied with the work of the federal, canton or county authorities as well as the work of RS Inspectors regarding the fulfillment of the Animal Protection and Welfare Law?

Regarding that question I can speak about an incomplete implementation of Act 38 of the law which obligates inspection authorities to document their oversight and report inspection results and measures taken for protection and welfare of animals to the Veterinary Office of BiH. We have received a very small number of reports in 2009 and 2010. Veterinary Office of BiH believes that the inspection authorities are conducting their jobs to the best possible extent and maybe there are specific sanctions issued due to violations of the Animal Protection and Welfare Law, but the Veterinary Office of BiH is not familiar with any such enforcements issued by the inspection authorities although by law we should be informed.

Gladno Polje "Shelter", Sarajevo, BiH

Gladno Polje “Shelter”, Sarajevo, BiH

Why is the Veterinary Office of BiH unfamiliar with enforcement and work of inspection authorities?

Because we are not receiving the law mandated reports from the inspection authorities.

A significant amount of work is conducted by the Federal Administration for Inspection; however, those reports are cumulative from all of their oversight. Unless it is explicitly indicated, it is impossible to determine if the inspection was conducted in relation to animal welfare. Based on the provided reports, we are unable to see how many inspections are conducted under this law.

In May 2013, Council of Ministers of BiH adopted information regarding the implementation of the Animal Protection and Welfare Law composed by the Veterinary Office of BiH. Thereafter, all counties were mandated to issue summonses to dog owners to register their pets through local community councils. I am interested in finding out if that was accomplished and what is the general problem with the central registry?

As far as I am aware, that was only conducted by the Novo Sarajevo County. I am unsure about the remaining counties in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The terms for establishing a registry for the entire BiH are contingent on the existence of the protocol for identification of dogs and cats. That protocol is still in the proceedings stage. Hence, we are awaiting the recommendations of the entity ministries in order to move it forward to the Council of Ministries.

Gladno Polje "Shelter", Sarajevo, BiH

Gladno Polje “Shelter”, Sarajevo, BiH

What is your opinion regarding the unconstitutionality of the 2008 Animal Protection and Welfare Law of Republika Srpska and its inconsistency with the State law?

The question regarding constitutionality can only be considered by the Constitutional Court of Bosnia and Herzegovina if a hearing is initiated. In terms of inconsistencies, and considering the fact that the Animal Protection and Welfare Law on the state level was identified as one of the Action Plan priorities for fulfillment based on priorities for European Partnership with BiH and adopted by the Council of Minister of BiH as well as one of priorities to harmonize Entity and State veterinary laws, I hope that the Animal Protection and Welfare Law of RS will be harmonized with the State law.

At the July 26, 2012 session of the Council of Ministers of BiH, they were familiarized with Human Rights Ombudsman of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s recommendations regarding the fulfillment of the Animal Protection and Welfare Law and the related Veterinary Office of BiH’s goal to resolve the problem of stray dog population. What has the Veterinary Office of BiH done from 2012 to now?

Gladno Polje "Shelter", Sarajevo, BiH

Gladno Polje “Shelter”, Sarajevo, BiH

Based on the recommendation by the Human Rights Ombudsman of Bosnia and Herzegovina and as the result of the misconduct under the Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Freedoms due to the lack of implementation of the law by local community councils, the Veterinary Office of BiH was not specified for shouldering the recommended measures.

Considering that the responsibility for regulating the stray dog population lies with the local community councils, as mandated by law and recognized by the Ombudsman, the Veterinary Office of BiH has tried to recommend and establish a common model for the implementation of the law during its meetings with local community councils given the difficult financial situation across BiH.

However, the scarcity of financial resources is always listed as the reason for the lack of implementation of the law regarding the care of stray dogs. In principal, this refers to the establishment of shelters as causing the highest demand for financial resources. For implementation of preventative measures, such as castration/sterilization and vaccination of stray dogs, the counties have more or less appropriated funds. Hence, we cannot say that nothing is being done, in some way they have been awaken by the Ombudsman’s recommendations and have begun implementing the law. The point that the counties are responsible for the implementation of the law is confirmed by a big number of payments to residents for damages sustained due to dog bites. So, the counties are processing payments as a result of court orders which further demonstrate their responsibility. Otherwise the court would not rule in favor of the claimant, namely the person who suffered a dog bite. Counties are well aware of this fact but are continuously maintaining the story of funding scarcity. However, if the law would have been implemented and the funds budgeted in a timely manner, it could have resulted in a much greater number of animal shelters that are not capped at 500 animals. It is important to stress that the cost for building shelters and daily stay of animals in shelters has been publicly overstated.

In your opinion, has the castration and sterilization of dogs been successful given that the number of stray dogs in Sarajevo has increased yearly?

P1020660

Gladno Polje “Shelter”, Sarajevo, BiH

Based on the counting conducted by Dogs Trust over the last three years, this year we have noted a decrease in four city counties where counting is performed. However, the number has overall increased as a result that dogs are being brought to Sarajevo. It is impossible to have such a big number of unsterilized dogs presented at sterilization programs in certain parts of the city. That means that when we announce a sterilization program, we are seeing adult dogs which after three years of sterilization and castration should have previously been sterilized. However, it is evident from the behavior and general state of packs consisting of five to six dogs that they have been brought from some other region. They are scared and unfamiliar with the region to which they were brought to. The notable aggression of dog packs is due to the fear and unfamiliarity of the region. These dogs, at least the ones I saw, are in a poor state, lack nutrition, a large number have skin problems due to neglect, but most of all they are scared. Therefore, these are not dogs from the city that are being looked after, and that is evident from their condition and behavior.

Does that mean that certain counties are resolving their stray dog problem by bringing dogs to Sarajevo?

That is the case and I think that the situation would be much better and we could see the results of sterilization if each county conducted sterilization as mandated by law.

What kind of collaboration exists between the Veterinary Office of BiH and animal protection non-governmental organizations?

Gladno Polje "Shelter", Sarajevo, BiH

Gladno Polje “Shelter”, Sarajevo, BiH

The Veterinary Office of BiH has an advisory role in its collaboration with Dogs Trust to develop the program. We are attempting to point out main problems with implementation of the law and where Dogs Trust, as an experienced and knowledgeable organization, can help to resolve the problem. The Veterinary Office of BiH is insisting that Dogs Trust expand its area of operations to a broader region of Bosnia and Herzegovina and step outside of Sarajevo. Our opinion is that this would be highly useful to local communities, particularly due to the reason I previously mention that dogs are being brought to Sarajevo under the impression that the problem is being resolved in Sarajevo. In smaller communities, the source of stray dogs comes from abandoned puppies of dogs owned dogs, which are traditionally left “in front of strangers’ doors.” Veterinary Office of BiH maintains that the problem must be resolved in the local communities through castration of owned dogs to prevent population growth, and of course, the number of abandoned dogs. Those are two parallel lines that must be addressed.

Based on your knowledge, how many stray dogs are in Sarajevo?

Current estimates indicate that the number is around 8,000.

What are the legal procedures under which owners are punished for abandoning their pets?

Gladno Polje "Shelter", Sarajevo, BiH

Gladno Polje “Shelter”, Sarajevo, BiH

If we are able to establish a connection between a dog and the owner, which is critical for punishment, the law has provided the course for punishment and has strictly forbidden animal abandonment. The ability to punish irresponsible owners exists and the essence of this law is to promote responsible ownership and to punish irresponsible owners. At the moment this is not possible because we do not have a protocol for registry which would require owners to register their pets. At the moment, in most cases, inspectors are unable to determine ownership of dogs.

Why has the protocol not been established?

I really don’t know how to answer that question.

Can we then say that the question of stray dogs is a matter of politics and not professionalism? Does it appear to you that this matter is being impacted by politics more than the profession, and that is the reason why the Advising Council and Ethics Committee has not been established yet?

It is obvious that this matter is being impacted by politics more than by the profession. Not the entire law, but exclusively the matter of abandoned dogs. Dogs are visible and if they were removed we would quickly see the result of someone’s work. The way that would be done or those results achieved is less important. This law never intended for dogs to be on the streets or to have the current situation as its aim. Had the law been implemented over the past five years and all measures applied as mandated by law, the situation would be different. In the first, second and third year we were not mandated to have established shelters, but by the fourth year we should have had a certain number of shelters; and if we would have consistently performed sterilization and castration, I don’t think that we would have this situation today. In the end, if Article 14 of the Law was implemented and aggressive dogs were euthanized, we would not have this many dogs in my opinion. By that I also mean stray dogs that are sick, meaning dogs with compromised welfare. Despite our good collaboration with nongovernmental organizations, we developed divergent opinions. In that sense the nongovernmental organizations assumed a burden that is not delegated to them by law.

After four years of not implementing the Animal Protection and Welfare Law, is it even possible to resolve the problem of stray dogs through the means mandated by law?

I believe that is it. Precisely because the law encompasses the entire population and has

Gladno Polje "Shelter", Sarajevo, BiH

Gladno Polje “Shelter”, Sarajevo, BiH

exactly outlined steps for what is necessary to achieve this. I believe that if we begin fully implementing the law that the problem would be resolved, provided that we count on adoptions of which we must have more of. That’s precisely what I see the role of nongovernmental sector to be, and that its current focus should be redirected to adoptions in order to ensure effective shelters and a way for animals to leave shelters.

When we speak about dog shelters across the entire Bosnia and Herzegovina, how many shelters have been closed by the Veterinary Office of BiH due to violations of regulations for operating shelters?

The Office has not closed any, and neither have the inspection authorities as far as I know.

Have you personally visited shelters for abandoned dogs in Gladno polje and Praca in the vicinity of Sarajevo and what do you think about the conditions under which dogs are kept in the shelters?

I did not visit them. I attended the opening of Praca but I have not been involved in the oversight of those shelters and cannot give an opinion on their fulfillment of regulations.

Based on photographs circulating in the media, we can conclude that shelter dogs are living in inhumane conditions. Why are we seeing such pictures from shelters which are receiving significant financial resources?

Gladno Polje "Shelter", Sarajevo, BiH

Gladno Polje “Shelter”, Sarajevo, BiH

From what I have seen in photographs, and I am only referring to photographs that I saw through media sources and internet portals, it is in fact true that those are inhumane conditions. First of all, those are unsanitary conditions and the focus on the facilities is not as important as the human factor, unkempt hygiene and the lack of the protocol for operating shelters. It is not enough to just build shelters. You must build an entire infrastructure of people to work in shelters in order for them to function. Especially because you are dealing with a large number of animals and there is an enormous amount of work. Hence, whoever goes into the business of running shelters must be ready for the fact that it entails a lot of work and that everything depends on the prescribed regulations. Conditions are definitely unhygienic and it appears that the shelters are over capacity.

Who has oversight over shelters and who controls work procedures?

Oversight is based on territories. These include canton level, republic, and county level inspector of Republika Srpska.

Does that mean that the Veterinary Inspector Department does not have jurisdiction over shelters?

Veterinary Inspector Department does have jurisdiction, however, we have not conducted shelter inspections.

Why?

Answer to that question must be sought from the Director of the Veterinary Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

You have mentioned microchipping of small animals. I am interested in why the Veterinary Office has not developed a protocol for microchipping of small animals given that the protocol was supposed to be established in 2009 when the Animal Protection and Welfare Law went into effect?

Gladno Polje "Shelter", Sarajevo, BiH

Gladno Polje “Shelter”, Sarajevo, BiH

Microchipping, which means registering all animals on the territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been mandated by the veterinary law of Bosnia and Herzegovina since 2002. Therefore, this law did not dictate mandatory animal microchipping, but has reconfirmed that responsibility. In the respect of abandoned dogs and cats, the protocol on the registry of dogs and cats is a crucial component to implementing the law in a way that allows inspectors to do their jobs and to fill the budget through paid fines from the start. This law is not fully effective due to the fact that no one has been successful in issuing fines for the reasons I previously stated. We cannot connect an animal to the owner that abandoned it. The moment we are able to fill the budget through this law, I believe that the story regarding the inability to implement it would fall off or significantly decrease.

When can we then expect the implementation of the law?

When everyone responsible for the implementation begins to behave that way and take action, when we begin working on preventing the source of the problem, and not on resolving consequences of not implementing the law. That is the more expensive option.

Do you have a pet?

I do. I had dogs for twenty years, more precisely I had two dogs. Now I have a cat, but I am close to making a decision on adopting a stray dog. I am cognizant of dog ownership responsibilities and have been vacillating for a long time; however, I think that I have exhausted all of the reasons “against,” which in truth there have not been many.

Gladno Polje "Shelter", Sarajevo, BiH

Gladno Polje “Shelter”, Sarajevo, BiH

As you can see from the photographs in this article, Gladno Polje shelter in Sarajevo is in terrible condition. It is but one of many public shelters in the country. Please see: Horror Camps for Animals in Bosnia and many other posts in this blog. The dogs at Gladno Polje are at least monitored by animal activists, but they need your help. Please join our FB Event: Help the dogs in Gladno Polje survive the winter! 

And you can donate via YouCaring: Help the Gladno Polje dogs survive winter

Petitions:

BOSNIA! IMPLEMENT HUMANE STRAY-DOG AND CAT POPULATION CONTROL AND TREATMENT
Stop massive killing of dogs in Sarajevo
Petition to save Bosnia’s stray dogs! Please sign!
Also see the petitions on the Petitions page.

Related articles in this blog:

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!

Related media:

Ambassador’s Notes: Embassy Sarajevo Views from U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Jelena Paunović: I got bi’en by a dog in the election campaign /  Jelena Paunović: Uj’o me cuko u predizbornoj kampanji
Masovni pokolj pasa u KS košta 680.000 KMMassive dog slaughter in Canton Sarajevo will cost 340 000 EUR
AlJazeera: Kontekst: Problem zbrinjavanja pasa u Sarajevu  (Context: The problem of disposal of dogs in Sarajevo)
Emergency phone numbers available for Canton Sarajevo residents to report dog attacks / Hitni telefoni za prijavu napada pasa dostupni građanima KS
Criminal Charges Pressed Against Acting Prime Minister in The Government of Sarajevo Due to Forming Illegal Dog Catching Service
Bosnia: Sarajevo creates unit ‘to catch stray dogs’
U državama u kojima ne vlada zakon prava, vlada zakon linča
Stranka za BiH: Odluka Vlade KS o uklanjanju napuštenih pasa je neustavna i nezakonita
Sarajevo: Podnesena kaznena prijava zbog formiranja ilegalnog šintorskog servisa

 

_____________________________________________

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 as a ‘gift’. Click on the image below to be taken to PayPal’s home page.

paypal_banner

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.

The “Aggressive” Dogs of Sarajevo

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAJournalist and animal activist Jelena Paunovic walked the streets of Sarajevo to film the so-called ‘aggressive’ stray dogs of the city. She has taken photographs and a video of her findings… One of the photographs is above. Here is the video she took:

Please read Jelena’s post on her blog, Journalists for Animals:  Sarajevo: Are abandoned dogs truly dangerous?

I too wandered through Sarajevo recently, and not a single stray I came across was aggressive in any way. Here is just one of many:

P1020748P1020750

Petitions:
BOSNIA! IMPLEMENT HUMANE STRAY-DOG AND CAT POPULATION CONTROL AND TREATMENT
Stop massive killing of dogs in Sarajevo
Petition to save Bosnia’s stray dogs! Please sign!
Also see the petitions on the Petitions page.

Related articles in this blog:
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!

Related media:

Ambassador’s Notes: Embassy Sarajevo Views from U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina
Jelena Paunović: I got bi’en by a dog in the election campaign /  Jelena Paunović: Uj’o me cuko u predizbornoj kampanji
Masovni pokolj pasa u KS košta 680.000 KMMassive dog slaughter in Canton Sarajevo will cost 340 000 EUR
AlJazeera: Kontekst: Problem zbrinjavanja pasa u Sarajevu  (Context: The problem of disposal of dogs in Sarajevo)
Emergency phone numbers available for Canton Sarajevo residents to report dog attacks / Hitni telefoni za prijavu napada pasa dostupni građanima KS
Criminal Charges Pressed Against Acting Prime Minister in The Government of Sarajevo Due to Forming Illegal Dog Catching Service
Bosnia: Sarajevo creates unit ‘to catch stray dogs’
U državama u kojima ne vlada zakon prava, vlada zakon linča
Stranka za BiH: Odluka Vlade KS o uklanjanju napuštenih pasa je neustavna i nezakonita
Sarajevo: Podnesena kaznena prijava zbog formiranja ilegalnog šintorskog servisa

 

_____________________________________________

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 as a ‘gift’. Click on the image below to be taken to PayPal’s home page.

paypal_banner

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.