Unimaginable cases of torture and killing of stray animals in Bosnia

WARNING! VERY GRAPHIC CONTENT

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

Increasing hatred towards stray animals in Bosnia and Herzegovina can be shown by the latest cases of vicious torturing and killing of stray animals. Rescuers and animal advocates in different towns and cities of the country are facing an endemic of cruelty towards animals that is getting worse.

Sometimes the most dreadful crimes happen in ordinary places, and it seems that it is becoming a practice in Bosnia. Rescuers in the capital city Sarajevo are right now trying to deal with a brutal and horrific situation. In the past few days, many dogs have been poisoned by an unknown person or persons, mainly in a notorious part of Novi Grad municipality, Dobrinja.

Poisoned dogs are being found in isolated areas as well as on the streets of Dobrinja and other parts of Sarajevo. Traces of poison for mice and snails have been found on the streets and this implies that this is a well prepared and organised criminal offence that is probably committed by a group of people. The poison is highly toxic and animals die within few hours, while veterinarians are trying to find a solution to help animals that are in agony.

Most of the poisoned stray dogs have died, as have a few pets that ate poison hidden in meat. Also, rescuers have found bodies of poisoned cats which is unusual given that cats are cautious animals. They have probably eaten poisoned meat.

The latest case happened in Sarajevo area called Aneks, where one dog was poisoned this morning.

Citizens as well as rescuers are very upset, particularly because the police and the inspection are still silent.

Please see the news report on Radio Sarajevo “Dobrinja / Građani uznemireni: Brojni ulični psi otrovani u Sarajevo” (“Citizens upset: Many street dogs poisoned in Sarajevo”)

Unfortunately, the cruelty of people doesn’t end in Sarajevo.

Hunters in the municipality of Kneževo near Banja Luka killed dozens of stray dogs as well as pets a few days ago. Bodies of shot, abused and killed dogs were found in the forests near Kneževo four days ago. Wounds from gunshot could be seen on the corpses.

Hunters are notorious and illegal executors of stray animals in Bosnia, and this blog has documented a number of killings of dogs by hunters.

Many hunting organisations ignore the law and still kill stray dogs in villages as well as rural areas in Bosnia even when those dogs are not causing harm to wild animals, and despite the fact that hunters are criminally responsible for such actions.

News article on Prnjavorski.net:  “Lovci pobili pse lutalice” (“Hunters kill stray dogs”)

And, rescuers are once more facing an awful new case of torturing of animals in Zenica.

One of the most brutal cases of killing of an animal that I have ever seen as a lawyer and a rescuer has happened in this town. Rescuers of SAPA Zenica found the body of a stray dog few days ago. The brutality of this crime is appalling. The dog was beaten and all her paws were cut off.

Such brutality is extremely worrying and it is devastating to see what someone can do to an animal that cannot defend herself.

I am not good at expressing emotions but as I am writing a new post for this blog I feel that I must express how I feel about these recent atrocities in Bosnia. I believe that every rescuer not only in Bosnia feels the same.
When I was a child, there was a war here in Bosnia. All of us learnt that death was something that could be seen every minute of our lives. I remember how my parents were taking animals to the basement of the house where they placed during the war. After the war, we hoped that it would be better for people as well as for animals. We were wrong.

Why am I mentioning the war? It was a period when everyone including me “met” death for the first time, but it wasn’t an “ordinary” death, it was a death that was a consequence of horrific and cruel events and torture. Some people say that Bosnia is a cursed country, that the land is full of blood and the cruel character of Balkan people will never change.

This sounds like a horror movie, but despite this I am afraid that it is a true. I am the person who only talks about facts, and the fact is that I am writing an article about three cases on unimaginable torture of stray animals in Bosnia. I am writing about animals that are victims of vicious persons, psychopaths with a cruel character in the country where killing someone “is a normal” and where no one pays attention to the suffering of those who can’t defend themselves.

A friend of mine, who was in army during the war, has told me: “You can’t face death almost every day and expect to be the same person as you used to be once.”

He is right.

Rescuers face death almost every day. We face the most notorious consequences of cruel minds and we face suffering every day. The worst thing is that we live in the country where decades are needed to change this situation. We aren’t the same persons as we used to be. We talk and think about the horrors and atrocities and we bear our responsibility to help so many animals. They only have us and no one else. Authorities who ought to protect them, actually kill them and chase us. We live in the country where logic “ends”, but still we don’t give up. We mustn’t give up.

******

RELATED POSTS:

Mass poisoning of stray dogs in Zenica, Bosnia
Poisoning of dogs ordered in Donji Vakuf, Bosnia
Monstrous Killing and Injuring of Stray Dogs in Zenica, Bosnia!
Dogs found slaughtered outside Shelter in Sarajevo
Puppy Flung off Bridge in Sarajevo, Bosnia
Puppy dies after horrific attack in Bosnia Herzegovina
Loved Street Dog Hanged in Gradiska, Bosnia!

Boy steals puppy and hangs it – Prnjavor, Bosnia Herzegovina

Dog’s Skull Deliberately Crushed in Bosnia Herzegovina

Another Dog Tortured by Wire in Bosnia
DOG TORTURED WITH WIRE IN BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA!
Puppy burned alive in Bosnia Herzegovina!
Dog Beheaded in Bosnia

_____________________________________________

DONATIONS
Funds are needed not only to help individual rescues and to help us keep safe the rescued dogs we are sponsoring but also to continue our advocacy work in Bosnia, uncovering the truth about what is happening there.

On our sister site, Animal Welfare Advocates for Bosnia, you can set up a monthly donation via PayPal, or if you want to make a one-off donation, please go to your PayPal account (or set one up, it’s very easy) and send the money to: 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 dog or 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. Go here to find out how to help them.  Money is needed for food, medicine and foster housing. Even just one dollar or one euro will help.

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Bosnian public shelters for stray dogs – A True Horror Story

By Dalida Kozlic, lawyer and activist in BiH:

Stray dogs have always been killed in Bosnia. Before the legislation of the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals in 2009, organised groups of hunters had killed stray dogs in all cities, even in the middle of the day. It had been illegal, but no one had wanted to investigate and punish hunters because they had received a lot of money from Bosnian municipalities for these atrocities.

Gladnopuppies copyThe Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals of Bosnia and Herzegovina was legislated and entered into force by the Parliamentary Assembly in 2009. Also, torturing and killing animals is a criminal offence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to provisions of the Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals every municipality is obliged to establish and finance shelters for stray animals as well as hygienic services that are obliged to catch and transport stray animals to 1794744_10152361893331080_2473322703677950794_nveterinary stations and shelters. Two very important ordinances were legislated in 2010: Ordinances on both establishing shelters and the conditions that shelters for stray animals and hygienic services must fulfil. Both ordinances provide very strict and humane ways of establishing and maintaining of shelters and hygienic services. Bosnia and Herzegovina has one of the best animal welfare legislations in Europe, but the reality is different and cruel for stray animals.

There are many illegal shelters for stray animals that are established and led by persons who are close to Bosnian authorities. Politically eligible persons construct so-called shelters for stray animals, which have the function of concentration camps, and they invoice false spay/neuter programs, as well as for food Gladnoawfulthat would never be given to animals; veterinary examinations and treatment, and the means for euthanasia.  In fact. animals are tortured and killed in those shelters constantly.  Animals are beaten, cut, clubbed, raped or tortured in many horrific ways. Animals do not have water, food, accommodation, they freeze or they are exposed to extremely high temperatures. Also, animals are killed with wires, clubs, glass shreds, poison and also fire arms. While all these atrocities happen, local authorities finance people who own those shelters. Also, there are 1475885_770877902939000_260306746_nmany illegal hygienic services that receive money from budgets of different municipalities. Those hygienic services kill stray animals, but they receive money for food, medications, treatments, catching of stray animals as well as their placement as they are alive.

Nobody knows how many illegal public shelters exists in Bosnia. There are public shelters in Praca, Hresa, Gladno Polje, Hadzici, Tesanj, Jajce, Bratunac, Bihac, Sanski Most, Banja Luka, Prnjavor, Doboj, Trebinje, Foća, Goražde.

In some of those shelters activists and rescuers are allowed to come and feed and help dogs. Those shelters are Gadno Polje, Banja Luka and Prnajvor. Conditions are very bad and activists struggle to help dogs, but at least dogs are not illegally killed and they are fed and treated. Since municipalities do not give enough money for those shelters, and food and 1379787_10202389002909199_1658533155_nveterinary costs are financed by activists and donators. It is not good solution because local authorities must fulfil their legal obligations and finance shelters in accordance with Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals, but it is the only way to keep an eye on authorities and protect stray dogs in those shelters. It is necessary to work constantly on legalisation of those shelters and adjustment of shelters as it is required by the law.

Praca shelter, the only registered and the biggest shelter in Bosnia also has a lot of problems. It is overcrowded, but at least people are allowed to donate some food and medications for dogs. This shelter should have been financed by all municipalities of Canton Sarajevo, but after it had been published how much budget money had been spent for illegal activities, the shelter was forgotten but many new dogs have been placed there.

xxxThe situation is much worse in shelters that cannot be visited by anyone. It is common practice to establish illegal shelters – pounds in former military buildings that are no longer used by the Bosnian military. Those buildings are hidden, surrounded by hectares of the land and huge fences. Those places are perfect for killing of stray dogs. Most of them were built by the former Yugoslavian army and therefore they were very complicated to be visited or to see what it was going one in there.

One of such former military base that is used as illegal pound is the casern Safet Zajko in Sarajevo, which is used by a notorious and illegal group of dog catchers that has been established in municipality Novi Grad Sarajevo. There have been killed thousands of stray dogs.

bihac_18_894824008Also, illegal pounds have been established in former military buildings in Hadzici, Tesanj and Jajce. No one has ever visited those buildings. Local people have confirmed as well as local authorities that “shelters” have been established in those buildings. There are no records of how many dogs have been caught and placed there. Caught dogs that are taken in those buildings have never been found again.

The pattern is similar with other illegal shelters, which are not placed in former military buildings. Most of them are placed in some unusual, old and destroyed buildings.

208674_587515221260272_1966183606_nBecause of the obvious money laundering through illegal shelters, Bosnian authorities want to have more stray dogs on the streets. If there are a lot of dogs on the streets, than more dogs can be killed and more money can be stolen. If people abandon dogs and if stray dogs are not spayed/neutered, then there will always be enough dogs to be killed by corrupt authorities who take money for dead dogs.

The only solution that can save Bosnian stray animals is to implement Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals in all its provisions and to establish system that is provided by the law.

RELATED POSTS:

Shelters in Bosnia Herzegovina
What to do about Gladno Polje Shelter in Sarajevo?
Uncertain future for Dogs at Gladno Polje Shelter in Sarajevo
Saving the Dogs of Gladno Polje, Bosnia
Veterinary Office of Bosnia: is it possible to solve the problem of stray dogs?
Another Horror Shelter in Bosnia
THE HORROR SHELTERS OF BOSNIA – SOMETHING MUST BE DONE!

Saving Lucia and the dogs of Foča and Gorazde
Dog Shelters in Bosnia: A Complex Situation
Horror Camps for Animals in Bosnia
Concentration Camp for Man’s Best Friend
Concentration Camp for Man’s Best Friend PART TWO
Mass Graves Found Near Dog “Shelter”
Hresa Shelter:
Part One – Part Two – Part Three – Part Four – Part Five – Part Six – Part Seven

_____________________________________________

DONATIONS
Funds are needed not only to help individual rescues and to help us keep safe the rescued dogs we are sponsoring but also to continue our advocacy work in Bosnia, uncovering the truth about what is happening there.

On our sister site, Animal Welfare Advocates for Bosnia, you can set up a monthly donation via PayPal, or if you want to make a one-off donation, please go to your PayPal account (or set one up, it’s very easy) and send the money to: 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 dog or 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. Go here to find out how to help them.  Money is needed for food, medicine and foster housing. Even just one dollar or one euro will help.

Horror Camps for Animals in Bosnia

They are called ‘shelters’. I cannot call them this word. You know about Hreša.
If not, please read the following:
Part One 
Part Two
Part Three

The conditions entirely inhumane in most if not all state shelters. An animal welfare activist in Northern Bosnia states:

There is a dog pound in another municipality that is really not better than Hreša and they kill anywhere from 30-80 dogs there every month. As of two weeks ago communal/municipal police banned activists from entering the dog pound and helping dogs there and they ordered that at least 30 dogs should be “euthanized” there every month. Dog pounds are used to launder money from public budgets and they don’t want activists to poke around and witness how dogs are mistreated or abused at the dog pounds that they dare to call dog asylums/shelters. Population control and promotion of spaying and neutering as well as implementation of the animal welfare law is not in their interest because they want and need constant flow of new dogs through the dog pounds so that they can justify the funds spent each month from the budget. This is common knowledge amongst Bosnian animal welfare activists

In the case of the shelter in Hreša Jelena Paunović of Život BiH and other activists were not only prevented from taking a severely emaciated, suffering dog to veterinary care (see photograph above) but were violently threatened by the shelter manager. A Serbian friend who wishes to remain anonymous has stated she heard money had been stolen from the Hreša shelter funds during financial pre election manoeuvres.

I have access to images from the state dog shelter in Banja Luka, the second largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. These images show dogs that were killed by injections of bleach and a dog killed by other dogs and dead dogs left amongst the living.

Banja Luka Shelter

Here is a video of images from Banja Luka (text in Serbo-Croatian).

The smaller of two state shelters in Sarajevo is called Gladno Polje. Senaid Memić, one of the municipality mayors in Sarajevo (Ilidža municipality), signed a contract with the Agricultural cooperative (website http://upizzilidza.com/) to build a shelter on land owned by the Agricultural cooperative. It was to house about 120 dogs. The land for the shelter belongs to the Agricultural cooperative. The municipality supplied money for the construction work and volunteers were brought in to care for the dogs, however volunteers also provided their own funds for the construction and they were involved in cleaning up one of the buildings that existed on the land: a chicken farm.

The Director of the agricultural cooperative (Almir Džanković ) accepted the contract with the municipality without the agreement of the volunteers and employees who would be ultimately responsible for the dogs welfare. Essentially, the employees were ‘given’ 120 dogs to take care of, with minimal wages and no funds to take care of the dogs.

Jelena Paunović attempted to interview Almir Džanković, the agricultural director, but he refused to answer any of her questions regarding who is actually responsible for the dogs and why no proper provision has been made for their welfare.


Gladno Polje Shelter in Sarajevo

The municipality gives about 2 500 EUR every month to pay salaries for four full time employees and to pay water and other bills. The employees have no health insurance, their salaries are paid in cash, and they are not involved in the paying of bills so they don’t know what actually happens with the money.

There are about 200 dogs in and around the shelter. It’s impossible to know the exact number because people constantly leave strays in front of the shelter. There are big and small dogs, about 60 puppies, healthy and sick dogs.

There are several really big problems.
– There is no money for veterinary care
– There is no spay or neuter program
– There is no heating during the winter
– There is not enough dog food

The employees and volunteers at the shelter are actually beggars on social networks. If they collect donations, 200 EUR or even more – it means nothing. One vaccine for one dog for an infective disease costs 10 EUR, one basic veterinary exam costs 10 EUR, antibiotics 13 EUR and so on. Vets in Sarajevo will not see a dog without funds upfront, and thus many die.

Because there is no spay / neuter program, most of dogs are always in their cages and never go out.

When winter temperatures hit -20 to -30 degrees. In the Shelter, dogs sleep on the concrete or wet boards. Once they had beds made out of wood, but since the dogs are closed in for the most of the time, they have either eaten the wood or it has disintegrated due to the water used to clean the boxes. Volunteers and employees of the shelter constantly beg for old clothes to be donated to them. Dogs and especially puppies especially cannot live like this.

Jelena says: “We owe the greatest gratitude for the survival of the shelter and the dogs to Sanela Kotorić Etterle and Adnan Smailbegovic, who fight the most for everything dogs need.

Gladno Polje

I have also seen images from the larger of two state shelters in Sarajevo, which show horrifically starving dogs. The situation is the same: no funds.

Regarding Hreša, the State Veterinary Office informed Dogs Trust in Bosnia a few days ago that the vet inspectorate responsible stated the shelter has been closed down by the local public utility company, even before the inspectorate had a chance to act, in an apparent effort to avoid possible legal sanctions.

Because there have been no prior inspection visits and because the shelter closed down before they could act now, the inspectorate couldn’t provide any more details.

Dogs Trust BiH state that they will continue following up on this, but as no result has, as far as I know, ever occurred regarding similar situations, I don’t hold up much hope.

In the meantime, the dogs in Gladno Polje desperately need food, veterinary care, and spaying and neutering.

The dogs rescued from Hreša need re-homing or sponsorship. Right now the monthly cost for the just the dogs rescued from Hreša is over  500 Euros (650 USD). And it is winter: there are over 10,000 strays in Sarajevo that Jelena and the other activists go out and feed or the dogs die – temperatures reach minus 30C.

Please help. I have drafted a letter for EU MEPs. I have a list of all EU MEPs email addresses. Go here for the letter and all information.

And please donate. If you have a specific issue you would like your donation to go to, please state it on the donation. 

______________________________________________

HOW TO HELP:
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 dog, 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.

______________________________________________

Dogs at Gladno Polje

~

This site is dedicated to Vučko. Read his story and don’t let him have suffered and died in vain. Please help the stray dogs and cats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The situation there is utterly dire, Vučko is but one amongst many horrifically abused animals. Go here to find out how to help them.  Money is needed for food, medicine and foster housing. You can donate via PayPal and I then transfer the money to Bosnia. I can also give you the PayPal email address of my Bosnian animal welfare contacts if you prefer.  Even just one dollar or one euro will help.