Strays of BiH continued...
The conditions of these shelters are, without a doubt, shocking. Not only is food is inadequate (old white bread) or non-existent, often there is not even water available for the animals to drink. There is often no heating during the extremely cold winter months, nor veterinary care or sterilization of animals available. Dogs have been found dying in their own excrement, or being eaten alive by worms. Generally, because it is cheaper than a more humane euthanasia, the dogs are left to starve or are “euthanized” by injections of bleach, or even clubbed to death.
Also, shelters are often used as fronts to launder money from public budgets. Population control and promotion of spaying and neutering -as well as implementation of the animal welfare law- is not in their interest because these bogus shelters want and need a constant flow of new animals in order to justify the funds spent each month from their budget.
While we investigate these cases and collect evidence, the gathering of information by itself is not enough. The public knows about these cases but, as usual, not many want to be implicated in a system of organized crime in collusion with a government that is capable of perpetrating a system of violent and cruel treatment.
For animal activists in Sarajevo it is much more rewarding to save the occasional dog or cat from the street. We understand the temptation of apathy regarding this situation. But all these animals have the right to live their lives free of cruelty and neglect.
Photograph in the Public Domain
My colleagues and I plan to visit the worst places in Bosnia-Herzegovina, wherever animals are living in misery, and reveal each and every case to the public. The plan is to bring live reports of the plight of these suffering animals to any and all who will listen.
Recently, in Colombia, during a two-year-long investigation, an association for the protection and welfare of animals secretly filmed the torture of animals in circuses and publicly exposed their mistreatment. Thanks to the association, the Colombian government passed legislation banning the keeping of animals in circuses. Bolivia, Peru and Paraguay have also passed similar legislation. After reading this we wanted to accomplish the same goal in BiH.
If you would like to support this project, we are ready to devote our time to fighting for the rights of those animals who are suffering the most. Except in extreme situations, we will not put any more dogs into shelters. We will feed, and try to find good homes for, all of the poor and forgotten strays that we will inevitably meet as we travel the country. Those on the streets of Sarajevo will most likely somehow manage, but others further out from city centers have little hope. We want to collect as much evidence as possible and report it to dependable veterinary inspectors as well as to reliable media sources.
For those who would like to be involved in funding and supporting the organization's work, please feel free to contact me: or for more information on how to support this campaign.
Photograph in the Public Domain
Article Copyright 2014 by Jelena Paunović All rights reserved
Jelena Paunović is a journalist and animal welfare activist in Sarajevo. You can find out more about the work she does with Journalists For Animals at: http://journalistsforanimals.wordpress.com/