The responsibility of an animal rescuer

By Dalida Kozlic

Not so long time ago, I wrote a post about animal rescuers who have been doing the work of Bosnian authorities.

12803266_1132172030149396_1481751104226047188_nSummary is that NGOs, rescuers, activists and ordinary people have had to find a way to save as many animals as possible. Because of this awful and paradoxical situation, many private shelters  – kennels – called “pensions” have been built in Bosnia.  Rescuers are forced, at great financial cost, to take their rescues to these pensions since they cannot keep a lot of dogs at their home.  Many rescuers have in fact turned their homes into shelters, but the difficulties here are enormous and there is a limited number they can keep.

When a Bosnian rescuer finds a wounded or abused stray dog or cat, they must take all responsibility if they are to rescue the animal: they must take the dog or cat to the vet on their own and they have to pay veterinary costs and costs of pensions in order to save the lives of these strays. This is the only way to save stray dogs and cats in this country, and yet all these things are actually the obligation of the Bosnian authorities. But, not only do rescuers do the authorities’ job, many of them are actually attacked by the Bosnian authorities because every time a rescuer saves the life of a stray animal, the rescuer is actually preventing the authorities from catching and then killing that animal – which means they are preventing them from pocketing money. Bosnian authorities use public dog shelters and dog catching services to launder money from the budget by killing stray animals and then pocketing money that is in fact meant for food and veterinary services for these animals. The more dogs the rescuers rescue, the fewer animals the authorities can use in these illegal money-making activities.

12809714_10207668953555492_3787774917193158948_nAfter 15 years of rescue work and hundreds of saved and adopted animals, I can tell you that running an animal rescue is not an easy job. There are a staggering number of animals who need help every day and if a rescuer can or cannot intervene, it’s often a case of life or death for the animal.

People often tell me they can’t visit animal shelters in Bosnia because it makes them sad. Animal shelters make Bosnian rescuers sad, too, but we refuse to let our emotions get in the way of saving lives. We understand we can’t save them all but we can and do make a difference. Alone, rescuers have shed many tears for animals they can’t save. But they get up the next day and get back into the ring as they fight for those creatures who can’t speak for themselves.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 17.34.33The number of lives we can save is dictated by the amount of funds raised and every adoption is a victory and a joy.

Responsibility of the animal rescuers is huge. Thousands of lives depend on us and our ability to find places to keep them safe, provide a veterinary care and find right forever homes.

Responsibility to save a being’s life is the biggest responsibility in the world. If we fail to provide the right care for saved animals, we fail to save their lives. There is a famous quote saying: “In rescuing animals I lost my mind, but I found my soul“. This is an absolute truth.

Rescue isn’t a verb, it is a promise that every rescuer gives animals.

MalaYou must make sure that whatever actions you take are in the best interest of the animals, and when you live in Bosnia it is very difficult to have the best solutions if you want to save a dog or cat’s life. Rescuers are often forced to choose between saving lives and finding finances to pay for pensions and veterinary care needed for their existing rescues. But it is a price we all pay for the situation in our country.

Rescuing doesn’t end once an animal is out of a death situation. It is important to take the time necessary with each animal and make sure that all the proper steps are taken to find them a loving, permanent home. Rescuing animals is a very high stress endeavour. Caring for them requires 24 hour a day, 7 days a week and there is an additional huge stress because of the fundraising needed to be done to do the work and to keep the animals safe. Fundraising is almost a full time job. It is important not to underestimate the amount of care and the level of commitment that is necessary to save animals in Bosnia.

As rescuers we know that every time we save an animal there is the possibility that this animal can make a profound impact on one person’s life. We dream of a day when our services won’t be needed, where there is a loving home waiting for every dog and cat in the world.

By Dalida Kozlic
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NOTE: If you want to help Dalida Kozlic with funding to assist her to continue her rescue work,  her PayPal account is: eldar.kozlic1@gmail.com – or you can donate via AWABosnia as below – just be sure to mark your donation for ‘Dalida Kozlic.’

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

2014: What is happening to the strays of Bosnia Herzegovina?
Disturbing Irregularities found in Dog Catching Service of Sarajevo
Bosnia: Let’s Respect Animals and their Right to Life
Dog Shelters in Bosnia: A Complex Situation
Veterinary Office of Bosnia: is it possible to solve the problem of stray dogs?
The “Aggressive” Dogs of Sarajevo
Stray Dogs of Sarajevo to be Killed in Election Ploy
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!

_____________________________________________

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.

______________________________________________

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.

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When Bosnian Activists do the Work of the Authorities

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By Dalida Kozlic

The Bosnian War was an international armed conflict that took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina between 1992 and 1995. Casualties of the war were not only people. Animals also were casualties and suffered during the war. Bosnia and Herzegovina did not have the Animal Protection and Welfare Act until 2009. This law was legislated and entered into force by Parliamentary Assembly in 2009 and now torturing and killing animals is a criminal offence in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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

The Bosnian Act for the Protection and Welfare of Animals is one of the best in Europe but no one is interested in this fact.

Since corrupt Bosnian authorities have decided to steal public money, some citizens have decided to implement the animal protection legislation on their own. As with many countries in the world, there are many people who love and save animals, but one thing is different in Bosnia: not only do rescuers save animals, they are doing the job that the Bosnian authorities should be doing. The authorities are obliged to establish legal shelters and hygienic services for stray dogs, but since they have not done this, rescuers are doing these things, actually they are doing whatever is legislated by the law, but on their own.

People started saving animals long before the Act for the Protection and Welfare of Animals was legislated. People saved stray animals from hunters and dog catchers. After the Act for the Protection and Welfare of Animals was legislated, everyone thought things would be different. Of course no one expected a miracle but people thought we Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 23.13.40all would have an opportunity to see animals saved in accordance with law.

Unfortunately, just like everywhere else in Bosnia, authorities started stealing money designated for stray animals, and the number of stray animals has been increasing.

NGOs, rescuers, activists and ordinary people have had to find a way to save as many animals as possible. Because of this awful and paradoxical situation, many private shelters called “pensions” have been built in Bosnia.  Rescuers are forced, at great financial cost, to take their rescues to these pensions since they cannot keep a lot of dogs at their home, and many rescuers have also turned their homes into shelters. Also, rescuers are having to catch wounded or abused dogs and take them to the vet on their own; they have to pay veterinary costs and costs of pensions in order to save the lives of stray animals. This is the only way to save stray dogs and cats in this country, and yet all these things are actually the obligation of the Bosnian authorities, but not only do rescuers do the authorities’ job, many of them are actually attacked by the Bosnian authorities because every time a rescuer saves the life of a stray animal, the rescuer is actually preventing the authorities from catching and killing that animal, and preventing them from pocketing money for these illegal actions.

If you want to know how, there is an explanation…

Corrupt authorities are often involved in the illegal killing of stray and wild animals due to basic money laundering. Politically eligible persons construct so-called public shelters for stray animals and then they invoice the government for false spay/neuter programs, as well as for the food that will in Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 23.13.16fact never be given to  the animals, and for veterinary examinations and treatment, and at the end, the means for euthanasia. Animals are tortured and killed in those shelters constantly and money is taken from the budget.

This situation is actually very bad, because the only way to protect animals in Bosnia is to force the Bosnian authorities to implement the existing laws. Rescuers and NGOs should be a part of this process, helping the authorities implement the laws. International support and pressure is the only way to force our authorities to stop killing stray animals and stealing money, as well as to force them to implement all the measures that are provided by the law.

There are so many projects and ideas that could be done in accordance to the law in order to control population of the stray animals in humane and effective ways. In this way all animals could be saved. Those projects could be focussed on both the short and the long term.

The imperative is to stop killing the animals, enable rescuers to have access to all public shelters and dog catching services, which in fact the  legal obligation of the authorities, but also in this way rescuers can help maintain the shelters and help the animals. Authorities must take up their responsibility for solving this problem.

Unfortunately, the silence of many international subjects is something that 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, animal protection and welfare organisations and media and tell them that things in Bosnia are no different than in Romania, that people who save animals cannot save them all, not even close, and that many more lives can be saved if our authorities are forced to implement their own laws.

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

2014: What is happening to the strays of Bosnia Herzegovina?
Disturbing Irregularities found in Dog Catching Service of Sarajevo
Bosnia: Let’s Respect Animals and their Right to Life
Dog Shelters in Bosnia: A Complex Situation
Veterinary Office of Bosnia: is it possible to solve the problem of stray dogs?
The “Aggressive” Dogs of Sarajevo
Stray Dogs of Sarajevo to be Killed in Election Ploy
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!

_____________________________________________

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.

______________________________________________

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.