Author: 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.
“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.
TAKE THEM HOMEEEEE!
„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.
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