Dogs Have Become Public Enemy Number One

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-21-39-48Interview with Dalida Kozlic L.L.B, in “Tacno“, 8 September 2016
Author: Predrag Blagovcanin
Translator: Jelena Martinelli, www.sprachenboutique.com

Dogs have become public enemy number one and the lightning rod for a society which suffers from all kinds of problems. If this society thinks about how to kill as many dogs as possible rather than how to make a living, here the problem starts. We are a psychopathic society that suffers from mass aggression and a society that has misdirected its aggression.

“All his life my father has been rescuing abandoned dogs. Already in Ex-Yugoslavia he was fighting against hunters and the killings of dogs in the streets. In August 2004 we barely survived a shooting in front of our family house that a member of the Breza hunting society had started and during which a dog was killed right in front of my eyes. This was the point in time when in addition to being a rescuer I became an activist and lobbyist for the Animal Protection and Welfare Act of Bosnia and Hercegovina. After I graduated from law school I continued my fight through legal protection of animals.”

Dalida Kozlic is an activist for legal protection of animals. For years she has been drawing public attention to the consequences of the non-implementation of the Animal Protection and Welfare Act. For her rescue efforts and hints at financial corruption and the non-transparent public spending with respect to abandoned animals, Dalida and her family continue to suffer pressures from the local government. This interview was done after her father Eldar Kozlic was physically attacked in the premises of the municipality of Breza earlier this month. We also have spoken about the decision of the Sarajevo Canton to remove all abandoned and stray dogs from the streets for community safety reasons, the relationship between the citizens and the officials who fail to solve the problem, the politicization of this issue and other topics…

Tacno: Last week your father was physically attacked in the premises of the municipality of Breza. Can you tell us what preceded this attack and why you and your family have been under constant pressure from the local administration in this municipality?

Dalida Kozlic: In 2013 my father Eldar Kozlic and myself learned that one part of the abandoned dogs, that were in the city centre of Breza, had been caught and brought from the territory of Breza to the hunting grounds of the municipality of Ilijas. Some of the municipality officials were involved in this. The problems started, after my father and myself had reported this to the authorities in charge: First we came under attack by our neighbor Edin Velic, who was campaigning and collecting signatures against us, because we were keeping dogs on our property. Later it turned out, that most of the signatures were falsified. Many other pressures started against my family. During the trial Edin Velic admitted that he was influenced and pressured by municipality officials to give us a hard time because of our battle for animal welfare. Then, the cantonal veterinary inspection checked our premises and confirmed that our dogs were well nourished, vaccinated, medically checked and that the boxes in which they were accommodated fulfilled all the requirements of the Regulation concerning protection of dogs, who are kept as pets in Bosnia and Hercegovina. Later on we learned, that the officer for economic affairs and deputy mayor of the Breza municipality, Salih Hasanspahic, had put pressure literally every day on the veterinary inspection to issue an unfavorable report. Nevertheless, the cantonal veterinary inspection followed the findings of the local sanitary inspection: they too confirmed that all sanitary requirements were fulfilled, dogs were kept properly and that there was a sewage system. It became quiet for a while, but it seemed to be like the calm before the storm: As soon as I continued to report a series of animal abuses in Breza and killings of dogs in the county of “Rudnik Mrkog Ulja Breza”, the pressure was back on.

Then, a new decision regarding the treatment of abandoned dogs and pets was taken on the community level, and, without any legal basis, a new community inspector Elsada Sehovic took office. She too issued a report confirming that the dogs were kept in accordance to the law, however she decided that my dad had to remove the dogs from the property.

I want to emphasize that it was Muris Nuhanovic, donor to the party “Association for a better future Bosnia and Hercegovina”, who had reported us to the local inspection. This party did everything they could to change the Animal Protection and Welfare Act of Bosnia and Hercegovina, although they failed, and they are promoting killing as a solution. Also it is important to know that Muris Nurhanovic is our neighbor who I have reported to the police because of the brutal stoning of a dog, for which there is also photo evidence. The dog is safe, and against Muris Nuhanovic an investigation is being carried out. He had reported us to the local inspection after he was summoned as a suspect concerning this criminal offence. His complaint against the decision has been rejected in an accelerated procedure, while I have initiated a legal action against the local administration which is still not closed.

Once the community officials realized that they would lose the legal battle and that they could not influence my work, Halil Tuzlic, the mayor, asked for cooperation during a meeting with my father and me, and suggested that the municipality of Breza offer a piece of land where a dog shelter could be built and thus the Animal Welfare and Protection Act implemented. He asked us to help with our contacts and especially wanted me to help with the legal work and the supervision of the shelter.

Salih Hasanspahic was responsible for the coordination. The time limit to find a property was one month.  However, after two months even there was no concrete proposal, since he insisted that me and my family had to solve the entire problem of the abandoned dogs in the municipality of Breza, that the community bore no responsibility at all and that we moved our dogs to this shelter. It also turned out that he deliberately obstructed the whole process in order to put through his own interests.

My father made an appointment with him on the 2nd September 2016 in his office in the Breza town hall. When my father entered Salih Hasanspahic’s office, Salih left the office and came back in with Edin Velic. My father reacted saying that he had nothing to talk about with them. Right after that, Salih calls in Muris Nuhanovic and the local inspector and locks the office. My father tells them that he is being kept hostage, that there is nothing to discuss and demands to be set free immediately. Salih is not willing to unlock the door and tells my father that he is going to “stay until dawn if it’s necessary to solve “their” problem”. Now Muris Nuhanovic attacks my father several times who cannot leave the office, while Salih refuses to unlock the door. All this lasts for about 15 minutes, when Salih finally opens the door after Nuhanovic had tried to punch my father.

My father immediately goes to the police office, which is 50 meters away from the town hall building. The police officers find them still on site, and the criminal investigation department immediately takes over the case since there are several criminal offences involved. The public prosecution department is in charge of the case. I would like to emphasize that the illegal restraint committed by Salih Hasanspahic is especially important, and it is also very significant that it happened right on the first day of the election campaign, which is noteworthy, since I have noticed a certain resistance from Salih Hasanspahic to follow orders from the mayor, as well as a resistance against the mayor personally. The public prosecution department of the Canton of Doboj-Zenica has to take the case very seriously and take all measures foreseen by law to punish the perpetrators. This was an attempted lynching of a family that takes care of 120 dogs, which we have taken from the streets, which again would have been the duty of municipality authorities, and a family who is fighting for the implementation of the act.

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Tacno: The latest decision of the government of the Canton of Sarajevo to remove all the dogs from the streets of Sarajevo has upset the animal welfare organizations. Why?

Dalida Kozlic: The decision taken by the government of the Canton of Sarajevo on the session of the 30th June 2016, which orders catching of abandoned dogs on a massive scale on the territory of the Sarajevo Canton, is not only a gross violation of the Animal Protection and Welfare Act of Bosnia and Hercegovina but also a serious form of organized business crime. This decision was preceded by the preparation of the project “Monitoring of zoonotic infectious and parasitic diseases in the population of abandoned dogs in the Canton of Sarajevo”. Project executors were the cantonal public company KJP “Veterinarska stanica d.o.o. Sarajevo”, the Veterinary faculty in Sarajevo and the Cantonal administration for inspection – the Inspectorate for the veterinary inspection. The value of the project was KM 133’000 (USD 76’000). The mentioned large-scale catching of dogs had been entrusted to the cantonal public waste management company KJKP “Rad d.o.o. Sarajevo” and KJP “Veterinarska stanica d.o.o. Sarajevo”. Responsible for the execution of the above mentioned decision was the ministry of public utilities and infrastructure of the Sarajevo Canton, while the decision and the project were financed from the budget of the Canton of Sarajevo. The Animal Protection and Welfare Act of Bosnia and Hercegovina bans any type of experimenting and unauthorized testing on abandoned animals, while the veterinary laws and regulations of Bosnia and Hercegovina state that only the Veterinary Office of Bosnia and Hercegovina is allowed to undertake projects to determine and control diseases of any origin in the population. The scandalous, inhumane and illegal way of treating captured dogs is best observed in the example of the illegal shelter in Zunovnica. It is confirmed also through photos taken in the mentioned building, that dogs are obviously held without food and water, that they are starved and skinny and that they are literally lying in their own feces which have not been removed for a long period of time. They are exposed to contagion, they are running the risk of injuring one another, and because of these inhumane conditions they die in agony. Also, we have found out, that the dogs are taken for neutering/spaying and then are brought back not just to a dirty place, but to a place covered with feces. Zunovica is literally a concentration camp and the most horrific example of the breaking of many laws by the cantonal government itself, which spends tax money on this horrific torture of abandoned dogs.

Tacno: Can you as a lawyer explain to us, why to date the Animal Protection and Welfare Act still has not been fully implemented, although it has been adopted in 2009?

Dalida Kozlic: The Animal Protection and Welfare Act has not been implemented at all. Not because it is not possible or because it is too costly, but because in this way criminal activities become possible, just like those on the territory of the Sarajevo Canton. At first, after the act had been adopted, public authorities were not interested. Then they quickly realized that it was financially rewarding to offer illegal shelters and illegal sanitary services. There are many illegal shelters that have been set up by people who are close to politicians and people in power. These people set up illegal “shelters for abandoned animals” that are basically concentration camps, and then bill for fictitious veterinary services and food that never reaches the animals. They invoice for euthanasia drugs, while the abandoned animals are agonized and killed in the most brutal ways in these so called “shelters”. Also, according to the same principle, they set up illegal sanitary services and take money from the budgets of various municipalities. This way big money is stolen from the budgets at all levels of public administration, because, if you have legal shelters that accommodate the dogs conforming to the law, there is no possibility to steal money. If, on the contrary, you build a fence around a piece of land, where you put hundreds of dogs, for which you receive money while the dogs die of starvation, and at the same time you bill for many other “services”, then you get rich. This is the main reason why the act has not been implemented – because of organized business crime at the highest level.

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Tacno: For years you have been pointing at the fact that enormous sums of public money have been taken from the budget to mitigate the effects of this problem. Is this the actual reason why there is no systemic solution?

Dalida Kozlic: First, the administration stated, that one dog in a shelter costs KM 157 (USD 90) per month, which is not true. But this unsubstantiated story has helped that the budget provides for unjustifiably high sums for illegal shelters and sanitary services. This way the public administration worsens the problem, since as long as there are dogs on the streets, there will be stealing money from the budget. The attempt to partially implement the act will only increase the agony of the abandoned dogs on the streets as well as that of the citizens, and budget money will be wasted for the umpteenth time to solve the problem in a nonsystematic way. Apart from the many abuses and obstructions during the execution of the act, today’s failure is also the result of public authorities focusing on the effects of the problem, i.e. killing the dogs, which by the way is a criminal act and a violation of the Animal Protection and Welfare Act of Bosnia and Hercegovina. At the same time the authorities in charge do not care about solving the root cause of the problem, which is the abandonment of the dogs and the uncontrolled reproduction.

Tacno: Who is responsible that through the indifference of the public authorities, the problem of the strays has grown from a local problem to a health and safety problem for the citizens of the Sarajevo Canton and others?

Dalida Kozlic: First and foremost, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Relation of Bosnia and Hercegovina, under which the Veterinary Office operates, which is responsible for the oversight and implementation of the mentioned act. The Veterinary Office of Bosnia and Hercegovina has been a passive bystander for years and with that is also an accomplice, because it does not perform the duties provided by law. Then the veterinary inspections which are not only not acting in those cases in which they are legally obliged in order to stop the horrors, but which even openly support the criminals. Then the public administration departments that did not fulfill their part of the obligations imposed by law, and that have artificially created a bigger problem, even though the obligations to systematically resolve the problem are clearly stated. Then the public prosecution office and the police who are not taking legal action against business crime and money laundering, and finally the citizens themselves, who have failed to demand that the federal act be implemented. The problem of the abandoned dogs has not endangered the health and safety of the citizens. Of course it is a problem that needs to be solved lawfully, and the sooner the law is executed the better. But the whole story about the threat to the citizens is just a pretext for this society, which suffers from mass aggression towards those who are weaker, to do whatever they want to those who cannot protect themselves. This is not a question of the human-animal relationship anymore; it’s about the future relationship of our children with their fellow humans.

Tacno: Has the resolution of the problem of abandoned animals become a politicized issue? In your opinion, why does it become a hot topic every time during an election campaign?

Dalida Kozlic: This is a political question, indeed, however, the periodic reissue of the story of how to resolve this problem, is not only a classical election campaign story. It is a story that has been created 3 years ago in order to draw attention away from much bigger problems. It is in the best interest of the authorities if there is an atmosphere of fear, and they have chosen the dogs to be public enemy number one. Post-war societies in general feel the need to vent their feelings of stress and frustration. Normal societies in post-war times focus on reconstruction and renewal. Unfortunately, our society is neither normal nor does it focus on renewal, instead the majority of our citizens are focused on non-existent issues. If people do not earn enough to meet their needs, they become dissatisfied. This can lead to changes. The authorities in Bosnia and Hercegovina always had the “perfect” way to fuel tensions through nationalism. Over time however, this was not enough anymore and they needed a new enemy. The dogs have taken this place. While our citizens tremble at the sight of an abandoned dog, they are not even aware how dangerous our society is, how high the crime and corruption rates are. While they warn their kids to stay away from the “dangerous” abandoned dogs, they fail to warn them of pedophiles, of which there are more than one would think in our society. Our citizens are so much focused on the story of the dogs; they have no idea what is going on around them.

Tacno: Has the public perception towards the people responsible for the problem changed, since very often animal welfare organizations are mentioned when it comes to responsibility for the street dogs?

Dalida Kozlic: The public perception has changed completely. First of all, the non-governmental sector has no institutional power whatsoever. These are true NGOs, people who are pointing out what needs to be improved, changed, but also what is illegal. Citizens need to be aware, that without activists, animal lovers, associations and citizens who just feed the strays, there would be up to 50% more dogs on the streets in certain areas. Can some citizens grasp that the law has clearly stated the responsibilities, obligations and competences to resolve this problem are the government’s jurisdiction, while the animal lovers and associations actually do the government’s job? We are the victims of emotional blackmail, since our only choice is to either take a dog or to leave him to the authorities for better or worse. If I say that I have 120 dogs under my care, what do the citizens think happens if I set them all free? On paper, everybody supports a united state of Bosnia and Hercegovina, but as soon as a part of the civil community promotes execution of a STATE law, then that civil community is made responsible for the problem they are, in fact, trying to solve. When in a meeting Dino Konakovic (prime minister of the Sarajevo Canton – translator’s note) says that he “couldn’t care less about a state law”, he basically says, that he is above the state, that he can do anything he likes. This is called a coup d’état. When associations and activists demand the law to be executed, then we are called crooks and liars, that we wish that there are dogs on the streets etc.… The citizens have to learn to demand that the laws be executed. We demand that. And if I say “we”, I mean every decent animal lover who does not want their money to be spent on bloodshed and finance crime.

Tacno: How can we solve the problem today? Can the issue of abandoned animals today, seven years after the enactment of the law, be solved just by executing this law?

Dalida Kozlic: When the number of the dogs on the streets increases, it is always and only the direct consequence of the behavior of irresponsible dog owners. Also, it is the consequence of the authorities’ failure to take preventive measures foreseen by the law: by not penalizing owners who abandon their dogs, by not enforcing full identification of ownership, by not following through with spaying and neutering projects and vaccinations. The authorities have failed to systematically mark the abandoned dogs, and failed to carry out education and information campaigns which should have raised public awareness about the causes of the problem. The mentioned law has determined a very clear and decided system how to solve the problem of abandoned dogs. The first legal obligation is to provide shelters with the goal of accommodating the animals until adoption. The modus operandi are described in the Regulation about forming shelters and the conditions that need to be fulfilled by the shelters for abandoned animals in Bosnia and Hercegovina. The second legal obligation in the system is the registration of pets. Until the construction of the shelters is finished, the municipalities can help with food for the abandoned animals, and of course they are obliged to spay and neuter the abandoned animals as prescribed by law. Should the shelters, which are supposed to be “centers for adoption and medical aid for abandoned animals”, be built and maintained in accordance with the public regulations, and as long the shelters are managed professionally, the costs will not be huge. With a good information campaign and by raising public awareness, the number of adoptions will increase.

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Tacno: To what extent are the dogs in our society stigmatized because of the neglect by the local administration and the responsible institutions, as well as because of the unprofessional journalistic reporting?

Dalida Kozlic: People are afraid of dogs; dogs are the subject of discussion and debate. Meanwhile we are one of the poorest and the most miserable country in the whole of Europe, so the deprived people take their frustration out on those who cannot protect themselves. Dogs are a channel for the anger people should feel towards those who are responsible for the way we live today. Dogs have become public enemy number one and the lightning rod for a society which suffers from all kinds of problems. If this society thinks about how to kill as many dogs as possible rather than how to make a living, here the problem starts. We are a psychopathic society that suffers from mass aggression and a society that has misdirected its aggression.

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Interview on Tacno: Dalida Kozlić: Psi su vještački stvorena meta i proglašeni su zlom u društvu

If you want to support Dalida in her work, what she needs most is support to keep her rescues safe so she can not worry about fundraising and focus on her legal work fighting for the rights of strays of Bosnia. This month there are two YouCarings for her:

For food for over 100 rescues:

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-21-36-23Pension (kennel) costs for 45 rescues:

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

Money laundering behind killing of stray dogs in Sarajevo
Evidence of crimes against dogs ignored!
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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DONATIONS

Funds are needed to help individual rescues, for spay-neuter projects, for education also to continue advocacy work in Bosnia, uncovering the truth about what is happening there. Donations are managed by AWABosnia, an independent group of animal advocates. On their website, Animal Welfare Advocates for Bosnia, you can set up a monthly donation via PayPal, or if you want to make a one-off donation, please go to your PayPal account (or set one up, it’s very easy) and send the money to: donations@awabosnia.org. Click on the image below to be taken to PayPal’s home page.

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Or if you want to use the customised PayPal form, click the link below. However, a transaction fee and a percentage (2- 5.4%) will be deducted by PayPal for any contribution made.

If you want your contribution to go to a specific cause, please make a note in the PayPal comment box. If you wish to contribute via bank transfer or have other difficulties or questions, please go here.

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This site is dedicated to Vučko. Read his story and don’t let him have suffered and died in vain. Please help the stray dogs and cats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The situation there is utterly dire, Vučko is but one amongst many horrifically abused animals. Even just one dollar or one euro will help make a difference.

Saving the Dogs of Gladno Polje, Bosnia

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GladnoLeila2Gladno Polje is a public “shelter” on the outskirts of Sarajevo that has existed for 3 years. 150-200 dogs live in this shelter in horrific conditions, and more dogs and puppies are constantly being dumped, some in dire need of veterinary care.

If it were not for dog-catchers taking dogs off the streets to who-knows-where, dogs would probably be better off on the streets than in this awful place.

P1020658When Andrea and Sandra visited Gladno a few weeks ago, it was late afternoon. But because there is no electricity in the shelter, the inside part where there are many dog pens was in pitch darkness. The sensation of walking into this space is impossible to truly describe. All we could make out were some of the dogs’ eyes as they looked desperately at us through the bars of their pens. The smell was completely overpowering – there had been no running water that day, so the volunteers hadn’t been able to clean the pens, and the sound, the sound of barking, of screaming really… in this pitch darkness, and the air so thick with the smell of excrement and fear. Our eyes stung, it was hard not to stop ourselves from retching. And yet the volunteers were in there, in the darkness, doing everything they could, without complaint…

Video footage taken during Andrea Kalman and Sandra Jensen’s visit in September, 2014:

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Sanela Kotorić Etterle, one of the main volunteers

The animal welfare law in Bosnia Herzegovina, which was created in 2009, stipulates that public shelters should provide adequate care for strays. Unfortunately this is not the case.

“..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…” states Snezana Vidovic, President of the association for animal rescue and P1020652protection, Sapa Zenica. “… 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.” Please read the full interview here.

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this dog was recently dumped at the shelter… she has a growth on her teats…

Inga Dujmovic, Senior Associate of the State Veterinary Inspector for animal welfare in Bosnia Herzegovina says: “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.”

gladnopupInga Dujmovic was recently interviewed and she was asked if the Veterinary Inspector Department of BiH has jurisdiction over shelters. Her answer was: “Veterinary Inspector Department does have jurisdiction, however, we have not conducted shelter inspections.” When asked Why? she said: “The answer to that question must be sought from the Director of the Veterinary Office of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

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one of the dogs in the inside pens…

Gladno Polje shelter, unlike many public ‘shelters’ in Bosnia, does have a tiny group of three volunteers trying to help them. These volunteers fundraise for food, hay and also to try and do some work on the building itself and to build some better pens for the dogs.

AWABosnia has set up a Facebook event to try and raise much needed funds for these volunteers to make urgent repairs to make the dogs` lives better before the harsh Sarajevo winter sets in.

***You can help by donating via the YouCaring: Help the Gladno Polje dogs survive winter***

Gladnopuppies copyThere are in fact employees who are paid to work in the shelter (or as we heard recently, haven’t been paid for the past couple of months). But very little is done at all… and as you can see from the photographs the place is in terrible condition, virtually falling down. The dogs are fed trash from restaurants, and very likely are abused by some of the workers – there is no proof, but the volunteers say it is possible to see the evidence on the dogs and in the dogs’ behaviour.

The shelter does not pay for sterilisations, so any unsterilised dogs have to be kept apart from the others.. if it’s possible. The only medical treatment received is if the volunteers are able to raise funds.
P1020736The dogs are in constant need of vaccines, flea protection and deworming pills. The volunteers also feed about 50 abandoned and street dogs in the municipality of Gladno Polje, who roam outside of the shelter. There is no room to bring them inside.

There is no heating in the shelter, only water, and often not even that – the volunteers have to bring water in, by hand. Volunteers try to supplement the dogs’ food as much as possible with donations (about 60 euros is needed per day).

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conditions inside the main building are horrific

The roof of the building is damaged so it is leaking every time it rains. A lot of the dogs don`t have dog houses and many have nowhere to hide from the elements. Many dog boxes are either damaged or completely collapsed. Hygiene is very bad. There is no quarantine, so dogs brought in from the street are right away mixed with the dogs who are already at the shelter. The yard of the shelter is not properly fenced, so hungry dogs are constantly getting into fights with one another.

Video footage taken during Andrea Kalman and Sandra Jensen’s visit in September, 2014:

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This little dog was adopted and then returned to Gladno Polje for not using the toilet outside… no one thought to teach him……

The fundraising event of AWABosnia is to try and assist the volunteers on the ground first and foremost with much needed funds for materials for urgent repairs of the shelter, for dog houses, for hay balls. Without this, many of the dogs, puppies in particular, will not survive the winter. And those who do survive, will be suffering immensely with no heating, damaged boxes, missing or damaged dog houses, no blankets or straw….wet, cold, scared dogs everywhere.

Below is video footage taken by Sanela Kotorić Etterle, the main volunteer who does everything she can to ensure the well-being of the dogs. But one person can only do so much… and there are so many dogs…

P1020673Just in the last week there have been some unforeseen difficulties with Gladno Polje shelter. The shelter director has stated he is not sure how long the shelter will be in existence and he suggested to her that she take as many dogs to safety as possible. None of this has been confirmed yet, but there’s a possibility that another organisation will be taking over, possibly Lokom, the hygiene service who the Sarajevo government employed to catch and remove strays (see Stray Dogs of Sarajevo to be Killed in Election Ploy and Animal rights activists claim: stray dogs are being killed two days after being caught).

1794744_10152361893331080_2473322703677950794_nNo one is offering any official information, but the news does not bode well for the dogs at the shelter. Lokum does not have a good reputation to say the least, and so far no public shelter has had public funds put into it to make it a liveable place for dogs.

It will be no small thing to re-house 150 – 200 dogs. In the meantime the volunteers will do what they can to make sure the dogs are fed and that any construction work done is removable.

Please join the AWABosnia FB Event: Help the dogs in Gladno Polje survive the winter! 

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

If you prefer to donate via AWABosnia, please see the donation instructions below. Make sure to mark your donation for ‘Gladno Polje.’

1492583_902850043060120_4334016915794271894_oAnd please share this blog with your friends. If these 200 dogs have to be moved, an extraordinary amount of assistance will be needed. Pensions normally cost around 120 euros per dog, fosters are virtually impossible to find and the difficulties involved in building a private shelter are almost insurmountable (please see Dog Shelters in Bosnia: A Complex Situation).

If you can offer a home to one of the dogs, please send an email to: info@awabosnia.org.

January 11 2015 CRITICAL UPDATE: Please see
Uncertain future for Dogs at Gladno Polje Shelter in Sarajevo

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RELATED POSTS:

Shelters in Bosnia Herzegovina
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

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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.

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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 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.

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This site is dedicated to Vučko. Read his story and don’t let him have suffered and died in vain. Please help the stray dogs and cats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The situation there is utterly dire, Vučko is but one amongst many horrifically abused animals. Go here to find out how to help them.  Money is needed for food, medicine and foster housing. Even just one dollar or one euro will help.

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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Or if you want to use the customised PayPal form, click the link below. However, a transaction fee and a percentage (2- 5.4%) will be deducted by PayPal for any contribution made.

If you want your contribution to go to a specific cause, please make a note in the PayPal comment box. If you wish to contribute via bank transfer or have other difficulties or questions, please go here.

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This site is dedicated to Vučko. Read his story and don’t let him have suffered and died in vain. Please help the stray dogs and cats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The situation there is utterly dire, Vučko is but one amongst many horrifically abused animals. Even just one dollar or one euro will help make a difference.

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.

Stray Dogs of Sarajevo to be Killed in Election Ploy

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General elections will be held in Bosnia and Herzegovina on October 12, 2014. As always, election ploys to garner votes are underway.

3puppiescrOne of these ploys is to address the problem of the stray dog population in Sarajevo Canton. It is a problem. There are far too many strays in Sarajevo, as there are throughout Bosnia Herzegovina. But instead of applying what is a very good law on the Protection and Welfare of Animals of BiH, a law that includes the provision for ongoing spay neuter campaigns and of adequate shelters, the politicians decide, just before elections, to highlight an issue with dog bites and make a grand show of offering solutions by setting up a dog catching service and pouring funds into this service. In fact they have stated it will cost annually 680,000KM (340,000 Euros or 450,000 USD) to implement this service, and they have already allocated 88,000KM (45,000 Euros or 58,000 USD) for the cost of nine employees designated to this service, which includes a ‘hotline’ for citizens to report dog bites.


1926756_10203820394093084_4071306860381399917_nZlatko Petrović, Minister of Spatial Planning and Environmental Protection states that the number of dogs bites this year is 600. But nowhere is it stated what dogs make up this number and in what circumstances. Dog fighting is illegal but rife in Bosnia Herzegovina. Do any of these bites happen during these fights? And do any of these bites occur from owned dogs? Or from dogs suffering during abuse, or even in during normal veterinary procedures?

During my recent visit to Bosnia, I encountered numerous strays. Every single one of them either came up for a cuddle, or hurried away timidly. I spent considerable time with a supposedly aggressive pack of stray dogs. The two eight year old boys from Germany I was travelling with hugged these ‘aggressive’ dogs closely without mishap.

“Aggressive” stray dogs…fixedP1020310Note also that P. E. “Rad”, a company hired for dog catching and disposal of corpses, was in fact shut down in 2009 by the Veterinary Inspection of Canton Sarajevo, because its methods were illegal and contrary to the provisions of the Animal Protection and Welfare Act. Is it likely that their methods will have changed?

Also, the figure allocated as being necessary for the service to proceed must be considered in another context: P.E. Lokom, the public utility (‘hygiene’) service (established by the municipality) that will work in conjunction with P. E. Rad, has a shortfall in its budget this year of nearly 500,000KM.

Is it conceivable that a shortfall will be covered fully, or to a large extent from 680.000 KM ‘estimated annual operating costs’ aimed to fund the “dangerous dogs special team?” This being Bosnia, sure,” states Zoltan Milic, consultant economist in International Trade and Development.

P1020706Of Lokom’s operational and budget procedures, Milic says, “How do they generate income? I don’t know. According to Sarajevo Canton Novi Grad’s municipal budget – Novi Grad established P.E. Lokom, to “manage and operate” facilities owned by the municipality on their behalf – the municipal direct transfer to Lokom is 250.000 KM with an additional ‘transfer to hygienic services with veterinary services within Lokom enterprise’ of 110.000 KM. Out of this 110K, 35.000KM was for ‘costs of care of sheltered animals’ and an additional 30.000KM was redirected from the funds previously earmarked to Cantonal Veterinary Services for spaying and neutering.”

Note that P.E. Lokom has no dealings whatsoever with any dog shelters or spay neuter programs…

Animal activist and rescuer Ivana Tomic from Tuzla says this about the stray dog population: “A solution exists, far cheaper than 680.000KM if we take into account that these funds are available to only ONE canton, but the solutions can’t be realized overnight. This entire charade that I am watching, discussions regarding the hatred and aggression toward the four-legged beings that have bigger hearts than many of the people who I know including some that I am related to, is nothing other than hiding evidence of wasted funds that have disappeared without a trace, which were allocated for the solution of the stray dog problem.

Existing shelters in Canton Sarajevo are so poorly maintained dogs are better off on the streets if it were not for the efforts of activists – if they are allowed to help out, which frequently they are not.

P1020736In Gladno Polje public shelter in Sarajevo, housing around 200 dogs, there was no running water on the day I visited. In the pens, the stench of fear, illness and excrement was literally unbearable.

One of the activists helping at Gladno Pojle says: “The only thing the shelter pays for is water, since there hasn’t been any electricity in the building for over a year, because of the damage to the roof of the building, which is leaking every time it rains.”

For photographs and videos of Gladno Polje public shelter from a recent visit, please go here. In this blog do a search on ‘shelters’ and you will find out more about the ‘horror’ shelters of Bosnia Herzegovina.

P1020557Please also note director and film animator Vesko Kadic’s public letter made in 2013 to the mayor of Sarajevo just prior to the elections. (Translation is here.) It clearly shows that the current situation is exactly the same as last year and that absolutely no progress is made on implementing the animal welfare law. Instead, government ministers seek to secure their position and their lifestyle.

For an idea on the BiH government approach, please read the Ambassador’s Notes: Embassy Sarajevo Views from U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, where David Barth, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission Director for Bosnia and Herzegovina and COL Scott Miller, U.S. Defense Attaché state:

At the donor conference held in July, the international community pledged over 800 10369218_10204120587317727_3543942644690743735_nmillion Euros in assistance for the flood-affected areas.  More than 100 million Euros of this money has already been spent or programmed by the international community in the immediate aftermath of the humanitarian disaster and now in the recovery effort.  However, international institutions have offered more than half a billion Euros in assistance to the government of BiH for purposes of flood relief and recovery.  Little to none has reached citizens or municipalities in need.  Four months after the initial floods, politicians throughout BiH have no real plans, or even serious ideas, to offer for recovery.  Flood victims have seen little to nothing except for empty promises and excuses from their leaders. These same leaders instead quickly apply international assistance to fill their coffers to cover existing budget shortfalls that are the result of their policies, with little directed for flood response.

P1020072Animal welfare activists want to use all legal means to end this horror, to save stray dogs and to make sure the government implements the existing  Animal Protection and Welfare Act and that this dog catching and killing spree stops.

Many activists and rescuers are keeping vigil on the streets at night, and not only in Sarajevo.

A rescuer from a town north in central Bosnia Herzegovina who takes care of the strays in her area says: “The dogs here are also in danger, it is not just Sarajevo killing strays, they started to do it here 10 days ago, maybe two weeks ago, but I never thought it will be for real. Now I’m spending every night outside, or going around three or four times, to make sure my pack will be ok, we lost “just” two of them. I have to watch my dogs, and all together – I’m so tired, but I have to be sure that my dogs will survive.  My pack will not be killed as long as i can spend my nights outside, but it can’t be forever, I have to move them.

Stray dogs are frequently gunned down in Bosnia Herzegovina, and the Sarajevo government’s new policy, widely reported in the media can only give encouragement to more killing. See today’s news item concerning two men with guns killing stray dogs in Kozarska Dubica, a town in northern Bosnia and Herzegovina. This horror was witnessed by primary school children. “It happened at the very entrance of the school, the sight of a large number of children.” (English translation here)

Another “aggressive” stray dog, in Sarajevo: 

100_4911

HOW TO HELP: currently activists need funds for legal proceedings and also to keep their rescues safely off the streets in pensions. If you can help, donation details are at the bottom of this page. Also please sign the following petitions:

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:
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:
Why is a Sarajevo government dog service causing such panic?
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

main

_____________________________________________

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.

Strays Deliberately Massacred by Trained Fighting Dogs

10253801_818535161508845_5862058370363805623_n (1)

Yesterday around 2 p.m in the town centre one more horrific drama against the strays of Sarajevo occurred. Unknown persons with purebred fighting dogs, pit bulls and sStaffordshire bull terriers, dogs reported to be used in dog fights, set their dogs against abandoned dogs and strays. At least four of the strays died from injuries caused by the attacks, others are missing or wounded.

10270495_10203820394373091_3568630618396588448_nThis is not happening for the first time. Already two months constantly we have been calling the police, but the patrol came only today when the streams of blood flowed down the street.

People in the neighbourhood are known to be ordering the killing of stray dogs. We hope that next time will not hurt someone’s child. Anyone who treats animals like this today, tomorrow will treat people in the same way,” said a neighbour who witnessed the event.

The case was reported to the local police authorities. Residents are hoping that this time they will do their job because they are afraid for their own safety.

Article in Taco.net: The slaughter of stray dogs in Sarajevo.

Someone took a video of some of the attack, with one of the men involved clearly visible and flinging a large tree branch at the strays:

10006087_10203823803458316_4186946809907017188_oAn animal rescuer assisting in the rescue of the survivors said: “This is the worst day in my life, these dogs never bite anyone and they live there a long time now, they just live in a bad street where drug dealers sell drugs.”

What is additionally sad is that these dogs come from a pack fifteen dogs Marianne’s Dog Food Bank are helping with food and demodex treatment.  They were just beginning to grow hair and respond to the demodex treatment.

Marianne Søndergaard states: “I have arranged for the surviving dogs to have a place where they can be safe for a few days. I pray things are well for the people looking for them and that I will have news tomorrow morning.”

Assistance is needed to help the survivors. If you can help please donate via Paypal directly to MDFB at donation@mariannesdogfoodbank.org and mark for ‘Dogs surviving Sarajevo Massacre’.

10012144_10203823802898302_1802688104705369871_o

One of the survivors, safe now

Please note that MDFB is already struggling to continue their work in Bosnia Herzegovina and are desperate for funds to keep open their two little Dawn’s Nest heavens for strays, so any help is greatly appreciated. More information on their website.

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Surviving dogs brought to safety

If you want to help please visit the MDFB website: www.mariannesdogfoodbank.org and Facebook group for more information. Or make a donation directly via PayPal: donation@mariannesdogfoodbank.org

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_____________________________________________

DONATIONS

Funds are needed not only to help individual rescues but also to continue our advocacy work in Bosnia Herzegovina, 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 . 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 Shelter in Hreša PART TWO

This from Jelena Paunovic, who just got back from Hreša:

When I first published photos from Hreša shelter many people interested in adopting contacted me. I had probable home for ten dogs. Director of shelter, in our conversation two days ago, said he is interested in cooperation regarding helping him with food, public relations and adoptions of dogs.

Today we went to shelter with the idea to take few dogs and put them in pension until they could be sent to their adopters. Alas, when we got there all of this dogs were missing and shelter was half empty.

We were able to put seven puppies and two grown up dogs in a small car. We put them in pension aware that we saved them of eminent death. All of them will need sponsors for pension costs. First expenses will be covered with money gathered for food as we have almost no dogs left there to be fed. We found out that bodies of dogs were buried at local garbage disposal site and we went there to look for bodies. Employee of facility confirmed that bodies were buried there but said there is no possibility to see them as they dug them in deep. We looked for them but to no result. Later we tried to get few remaining ones out but run into a trouble as workers arrived so we had to flee!

There is probably six more dogs there but we are not capable to get them out as this could be very dangerous now when they expect us. Early this morning one of activists talked to shelter manager who claimed that he released dogs but witnesses and clues are telling another story.

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PLEASE CONTACT ANIMAL WELFARE ORGANISATIONS AND TELL THEM WHAT IS HAPPENING IN HRESA.
(contact me for Jelena’s details to give them so they can verify the story)

Please sign and share the petition:
Demand Investigation into Horror Shelter in Hresa, Bosnia

Please contact the local authorities directly, see the post below. I’ll be redrafting a letter soon.

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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.

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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 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.

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This site is dedicated to Vučko. Read his story and don’t let him have suffered and died in vain. Please help the stray dogs and cats in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The situation there is utterly dire, Vučko is but one amongst many horrifically abused animals. Go here to find out how to help them.  Money is needed for food, medicine and foster housing.   Even just one dollar or one euro will help.