Zola’s sad eyes

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAAuthor: Jelena Paunović

“Could you come with me today to make a few photos and a video?” – one of my friends asked me.

“Sure thing” – I answer briefly.

Next thing we know we are in a car and looking at an injured dog. Those wonderful innocent eyes bothered the Serbs, Bosniaks and Croats in this country all the same.

They even bothered “the others”. We all know that dogs bother us! So, let’s just kill them!

But what happens when the dog survives the mix of Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian bullets? Were the killers not experienced enough? Their aim was bad?

In the night a new Facebook message sound wakes me up.

“Jelena, please come! We found a dog that was shot in the river, we don’t know what to do” – said Alma in a crying voice.

“Let me just call Ari and we are on our way” – I said.

I quickly informed our dear Debbie from Texas about this.

Once we got there, Almir told us: “I took her out of the river. She ate a lot of food”. And so the normal part of Bosnia: Amir, Amela, Arijana, Jelena, Adnan, sits on a wall beside the boulevard.

That night we took the dog to Nenad’s pension.

Tomorrow, Andrej the vet checked her out. It was like watching two parallel movies: one of people united to do evil, other of those united to do good. All nations and creeds united around a common goal: some good, some evil.

Elma from the Vetlife clinic named the dog.

Today we took her for a control.

And yes, I took a video.



I can’t fall asleep. Whenever I close my eyes all I can see are Zola’s sad eyes that only wanted a life without suffering more than anything else.

On a broader scale, I was thinking, perhaps after the elections we can really separate into two groups: The good and the evil!

P.S. Debbie and the others have helped us pay the vet and the pension. She promised not to give up on Zola. She says that the clip was great and the look in Zola’s eyes hurts her deeply.


If you would like to help Journalists for Animals in their work in documenting what is happening for animals in Bosnia Herzegovina, or to assist in any particular rescue effort or case, please go to PAYPAL and make a donation to:


Please mark in the donation if your donation is for a particular animal or cause.

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Activists and the animal rights struggle in Bosnia and Herzegovina

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAAuthor: Jelena Paunović

I have written many stories on the animals, but few on the people who take care of them. Two days ago some 15 activists met up to prevent the capturing of the dogs in the Bjelave quarter of Sarajevo. As usual activists told one tale, the Hygienic Service employees another, and the police representatives just took their statements.

I did not write about this on my blog (I only posted a FB status on it), so many of you are probably not aware that the HS representatives crashed their car into a car with two activists a few nights ago. The case was reported to the police and we will see what comes of it.

The other night I spoke to Edin Ismo, one of the HS employees. He told me that all the activists are crazy, that they are only doing their jobs, and that he has indisputable evidence that all activists are selling the street dogs to the laboratories in Western Europe.

As a journalist I asked how he comments the fact that their director refused to ever give an interview for any local media? If there is nothing to hide then why not tell their side of the story? The question remained unanswered.

As we stood by the road giving statements, several citizens came up to us and told us to „take the dogs home“ , that the „dogs attack innocent children every day“ and they don’t care whose responsibility they are, „just take them away“ – they kept repeating.

Bitten girl’s father: My child was traumatized

The father of the eight year old girl who was bitten by a big white dog a few days earlier was sitting in the car.

„This is horrible. I don’t know what to say… My child was traumatized“ – he answered in a shaky voice when I asked how the girl was doing. He was shaking and could barely put those few words together.

Once the neighbors and the police left the scene, the activists stayed behind. As usual everyone was talking of how many dogs they have, and how they don’t know how to take care of them anymore.

A question of Edin Ismo comes to mind: „Tell me, does any one of you have a car to drive these dogs? “ Indeed! Do we? We do not!

Looking back I can only count the number of our and other people’s cars that the activists have destroyed through the years. Many many cars!

„I have a puppy in my apartment that someone kicked so hard that it has a hole in its stomach so big you could fit a tennis ball in there. With my two other dogs, it is only a matter of days when I will lose the roof over my head“– one of the activists points out.


I don’t know if you are informed on how the dogs are rescued in Sarajevo. No matter if the dog was rescued by someone calling themselves activists, an animal protection association or a common citizen who felt sorry for the poor dog, the process is the same: the dog is found, a pension is called (pension costs 4 Euros per day on average, 120 Euros a month plus the therapy, visits to the dog, cars, drivers, fuel… Then the money is collected through the social media to pay for all this….)
Usually, no matter the injury, everyone is sympathetic with the dog in the first month. The second and third month the public interest drops (in the meantime other worse cases appear) and whoever found the dog and took on the responsibility to pay for it all gets more depressed and desperate.


Pensions, pensions

“I have a great job, I got my degree and found work, and things are looking up! Some year ago I found a dog and put it in a pension, where I still pay its accommodations. In one year I have paid over 1500 Euros for it. I lie to the people I live with every month on how I spend the money“– a friend tells me. She adds that her greatest fear is losing her job, which would mean she would have to put the dog back on the streets.

For that money, she could have gone to sea every month, or add a bit more and pay for a housing credit.

„You use pensions to breed dogs and increase their numbers“– claims Edin Ismo when we spoke the other night. He adds with an incredible passion that he will fight the pensions with all his power.

Smell of perfume or stench of cans?

„You know Jeca I used to work. I was able to buy myself a pair of jeans or a shirt I liked every so often. Now I wear what people give me. My wardrobe sucks, and I used to be a proper broad! I was the girl people looked at and I always wore perfume! Now I disgust myself. I always smell of dog cans. I would love my life back“– I remember the talk I had with one of our activists.

„Its all the associations’ fault“– a citizen says the other day.

Looking at him, I felt sorry. I didn’t react to this claim, although I could see in his eyes that he wanted me to react, so that he could agree with me or start arguing.

Images of people I met in the flooded areas race through my head, along with the statements of the poor people, and our pathetic politicians. I remember the protests over all the things that are bad that happened in Sarajevo in the past year. Everyone is desperate, and the dogs are to blame! Especially for the parties who need to lie to the people to sit back in their chairs after the elections in October.

And how can you blame a desperate man for anything? Once again I think of the bitten girl. In fall she will go back to school and eventually she might get a degree, and then what? In a state with no system, with government who doesn’t give a shit about anyone but themselves, she will become a part of the unemployed list, just as desperate as her parents are today. And if right now she wants to focus on the words of the fairy tale her mother is reading to her, she cannot forget the bites and the rage of the savage dog. Her wounds hurt. And neither she nor her parents know how much money was embezzled on account of solving the stray dogs issue and taking „care of them“. She must be crying in her room, asking why.
And while her father „battles“the activists, the government waits for elections, and the next victim of the incompetent powers in charge waits around the corner.


„I have a child, and I am afraid to let her go to the supermarket alone, because I am afraid it will get attacked by the dogs. TAKE THEM HOME“– a father screams at us all.

I can only think of the empty promises of our politicians and all the stolen money that was supposed to solve the problem of stray animals. But the shelters quickly turn into institutions of money laundering and systematic animal torture.

As he screams, I think of the next person who will save a dog, and quickly forget how they said „I want my life back! Fuck all this“, log into their Facebook and start begging for money to save the dog from ending up on the streets. They will write and cry and stink of cans. And the feeling of doing the right thing will far outweigh the stench of cans and crackers.


I mentioned perfume? „You know I would like to be my old self and get rid of all the debts and worries“– she says. „And the perfumes? And the jeans?“ – I ask. „Cut the crap. Count if there is five Euros here to get the gas. I must take photos of those dogs in the pension. Hopefully someone will have mercy and pay for their stay there, and maybe we can find them a home. I will kill myself! “ – She says as she continues to ride the broken old car.


If you would like to help Journalists for Animals in their work in documenting what is happening for animals in Bosnia Herzegovina, or to assist in any particular rescue effort or case, please go to PAYPAL and make a donation to:


Please mark in the donation if your donation is for a particular animal or cause.

And also, once you have made your donation, please ensure that you ‘view transaction details’ (or click on the link ‘details’ beside your donation, or click on the ‘Confirm Receipt’ button if it is there), and click ‘confirm receipt’ otherwise the funds are not able to be used for several weeks. Thank you!

14 000 stray dogs live on the streets of Sarajevo


Author: Sanel Kajan/ Al Jazeera

Originally published on: http://balkans.aljazeera.net/vijesti/na-sarajevskim-ulicama-14000-pasa-lutalica

Stray dogs on the streets of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been a problem for many years, especially in the capital-with close to 14 000 dogs walking freely through Sarajevo, and number of stray dogs in the country being measured in tens of thousands.

Data from health institutions show that at least 500 citizens of Bosnian capital have asked for medical assistance after being bitten by dogs in the past 12 months.

“We have a constant increase in the number of persons coming to our clinic. The injuries are getting more bizarre. Dogs walk in packs. They usually knock the person down and bite their head, hands, legs… There is no part of the body that is not a risk zone”, says Zarema Obradovic, an epidemiology specialist.

Experts agree that the bites are not the only problem and instruct everyone to wash the wound first by all means.

“The dog fesses that they leave behind contaminate the ground. In this way a child playing can be infected in a silent way. There is no other place where dogs can defecate freely on the streets. Owner always carries a little bag with him. He picks up the fesses and throws it in the bin. Unfortunately, here that is not a rule”, warns doctor Obradovic.

The number of stray dogs is increasing Milena Malasevic has been taking care of dogs for years. She takes them off the streets, feeds and heals them. She says that the state has done nothing to mitigate the problem, but she is aware of the current situation.

“I have been saving animals for 25 years, intensively. I have given my life for them. But I do not support packs on the streets. Even I fear packs, and I can imagine how the citizens feel. It is terrible when a dog bites a child. It is terrible! Naturally, this reflects on all dogs, even those who do not bite or bark. I am now an eye witness of calm dogs being picked up and killed”. Malasevic says.

The animal protection and welfare law came into power in February 2009. There is an increasing number of dogs in the streets.

“The politicians have voted for a law that outlaws capturing and killing of stray dogs, but they did not secure the funds that would allow for building of dog shelters. Pounds were removed, and the municipalities have been ordered to build animal shelters”, reports Sanel Kajan for Al Jazeera.

There is no money The main problem is the fact that municipalities and cities in Bosnia and Herzegovina often cannot afford to maintain the basic infrastructure, and the dog shelters don’t even come close to the top of the priorities list.

“In one location we will be able to build a small accommodation unit to serve as a shelter. However, there is the question of the purpose of shelters. Everywhere in the world shelters are temporary accommodations, that is, animals live there until they find a home”, says Semir Efendic, mayor of the Novi Grad municipality of Sarajevo.

The problem comes when there is no one to adopt the animals. On all European states, animals are put to sleep, that is euthanized, but not in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

“By law we cannot do this, and that is why the streets are so full! The law should call the shelters animal “nursing homes”, because the law allows them to stay there for the rest of their lives. Something like this would require incredible amount of funding”, adds Efendic.

Citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been sueing for animal attack more often lately.

In Zenica several decisions were made making the municipality to pay out over 5000 Euros for the fear that was inflicted to the victims of animal attacks in the city. Tens of animal attack court processes are currently in motion in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Increasing Number of Manipulations with Attacks of Abandoned Dogs in order to Conceal Organized Crime Taking Place within “Hygiene Service” of P. E. “Lokum” Ltd.


Author: Dalida Kozlić

Originally published on: Tacno.net

Considering the continued work to stop the activities of the illegal “hygiene service” working as a part of P. E. “Lokom” Ltd., owned by Municipality Nov Grad Sarajevo, and as a part of which one of the major criminal organizations in B&H has been formed, political and ideological structures receiving money that the afore mentioned criminal organization has been systematically stealing from the budgets of all the municipalities in the area of Canton Sarajevo, in a certain number of media for some time there has been a spin about alleged “danger” from abandoned dogs. By conducting this campaign citizens, who are mostly uninformed about these issues, get a wrong picture, and simultaneously, organized crime is trying to be covered.

As for the “attacks” of dogs on people, this is a very complex topic. Term “attack” is not suitable nor legally founded. Dogs, like any other animal “attack” or react in situations where they feel threatened and a reaction of dog that results in physical injuries and mental trauma in people is a consequence of an instinctive reaction, which has deeply rooted reasons in a dog’s psyche. Dog, just like any other animal, does not react with premeditation. The only animal specie that reacts with premeditation, including premeditated attack, is the human.

The formulation that the reasons for instinctive reaction of a dog are rooted in the dog’s psyche encompasses the fact that abandoned dogs are exposed to hunger, thirst, extremely high or low temperatures and everyday abuse by people. A dog that is being traumatized every day is subject to sudden, instinctive reactions due to general bad psycho-physical condition. The term “aggressive dog” means the dog that occasionally does not feel empaty for other dogs or animal species and displays asocial behavior in certain situations. Not every asocial behavior is at the same time aggressive behavior.

With so-called “aggressive dogs” there is continuity in asocial behavior of greater intensity. Dogs are not born aggressive, they become like that due to exposure to cruelties if the streets and people. Truly aggressive dogs mostly do not exist and thus this term should not be used lightly. There are dogs that have possibly started behaving unpredictably under the influence of outside factors or that react differently to different energy being sent their way.

Animal Protection and Welfare Act of B&H does not recognize the term “aggressive dog” and thus this term is legally inappropriate. Assessment of behavioral status or aggression of an animal is complex and responsible procedure, conducted by the legally prescribed procedures and series of different tests defined behavioral experts during a certain period of time. The same dog can react differently to different people and demonstrate different levels of asocial behavior.

There are no experts for behavioral assessment of dogs in B&H. There are many persons with the knowledge and capabilities for behavioral assessment of animals, but they are not provided with adequate education and certification that would enable them to perform behavioral assessment of animals. Non-certified veterinarians cannot assess animals’ behavior. No human injury or mental trauma can be regarded as the consequence of asocial behavior of a dog if this had not been determined in the judicial procedure.

Every person who got mental or physical injuries resulting from the asocial behavior of a dog primarily has a duty to be examined in the emergency room and get the medical opinion. General practitioners are not competent to judge if the injuries were caused by dog’s actions. Persons who were really victims of asocial behavior of a dog have legal right to sue a municipality in which the event took place due to the fact that all municipalities failed to implement the Animal Protection and Welfare Act B&H.

Only medical expert in the proceedings is competent to establish, according to law prescribed procedures, if the injuries were the result of asocial behavior of a dog. The problem in our judicial system is that both plaintiff and defendant have the right on expert testimony from the expert in certain field, while the court often does not request a testimony from impartial expert. This legal situation is suitable for manipulations, which is the case with injuries caused in traffic accidents. It is often the case that findings of the plaintiff’s expert are “manipulated” in favor of the plaintiff. Unfortunately, many people who really did receive mental and physical injuries or traumas resulting from asocial behavior of a dog received much smaller compensations than those who had “better” expert witness, e.g. the one more skilful in manipulating the findings.

Dog must not and cannot be an object of any type of observations until the court brings the judgment in the process. Euthanasia can be performed in 5 cases defined by law (veterinary justified) if the legal procedure that proves justifiability of euthanasia (legal and factual – veterinarian’s diagnosis) has been performed. An order for euthanasia is signed by an authorized official veterinarian. Abandoned animals had a previous owner who abandoned them and who has to take legal consequences for this, providing for high fines.

Every animal in the streets is under the care of a municipality, e.g. the municipality has legal obligation to take care of its wellbeing, but it is not its owner, just like any public enterprise.

Animal Protection and Welfare Act B&H has a function to regulate protection of all animals’ wellbeing, including abandoned animals. It is foundation for all laws pertaining to any type of relation of humans towards animals and procedures pertaining to animals. It is accompanied by several sublegal acts.


If you would like to help Journalists for Animals in their work in documenting what is happening for animals in Bosnia Herzegovina, or to assist in any particular rescue effort or case, please go to PAYPAL and make a donation to:


Please mark in the donation if your donation is for a particular animal or cause.

And also, once you have made your donation, please ensure that you ‘view transaction details’ (or click on the link ‘details’ beside your donation, or click on the ‘Confirm Receipt’ button if it is there), and click ‘confirm receipt’ otherwise the funds are not able to be used for several weeks. Thank you!