Written by: Jelena Paunović and Dalida Kozlić
Every day hundreds of stray dogs are tortured and killed as a result of widespread money laundering schemes in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Government authorities have established mass concentration camps for stray dogs across the country. They are illegal, but the police and prosecutors refuse to investigate and punish those who are involved and responsible for killing of dogs. The only way that we can fight this injustice is by organizing a mass legal and media campaign. If we do not act now, the 2009 Animal Protection and Welfare Act will be amended and we will be left with an even larger slaughter of stray dogs in BiH.
Tortured dogs and cats can be found all across BiH. They are subjected to daily harassment by ordinary people and public institutions with the backing of elected officials, law enforcement, and judicial entities. Dogs that are not outright killed are taken to public “shelters” owned by politically-connected individuals. These “shelter,” which function as concentration camps for animals, are used as schemes to collect public funding intended for the provision of the animal welfare law. The owners bill the government for services that are never used, such as spay/neuter programs, animal food, veterinary examinations and treatment, and euthanasia supplies. In reality, the stray animals are tortured and killed in worst possible ways using methods that would have invoked envy of the medieval Inquisition.
This problem is further compounded by the mainstream media’s refusal to investigate and expose the prevalent corruption and inhumane treatment of animals. While they are willing to write sensationalized stories of dog attacks, the media is silent on the systematic elimination and torture of animals, as well as pervasive corruption driving this problem. The lack of journalistic integrity is fueling the atmosphere of misinformation and fear among citizens of BiH, which highlights the immediate need for increase in alternative sources of information.
Currently in B&H, Journalists for Animals (JFA) is the sole media outlet dedicated to investigating and writing about animal cruelty and corruption in B&H. JAF was founded by Jelena Paunović, an activist and journalist from Sarajevo who has dedicated many years to investigating and writing about this ongoing problem. She is supported by Dalida Kozlić, a lawyer dedicated to advancing legal protections of animals in BiH. Journalists for Animals is available in Bosnian and English languages and it offers a comprehensive archive of information documenting the plight of stray dogs as a result of the government’s corruption and incompetence.
Operating with extremely limited resources, Journalists for Animals has served as the sole media provider of information regarding the corruption and organized crime related to stray dogs. JFA is committed to investigating abuses of power and mismanagement of public funds which are funneled through illegal “shelters,” veterinary stations, institutions and others with authority to address the problem of stray dogs. We want to ensure that individuals behind animal cruelty, animal concentration camps, and systematic elimination of stray dogs in B&H are exposed to the world and subjected to consequences under the law. JFA is also dedicated to educating and mobilizing the public to demand the implementation of the existing Animal Protection and Welfare law to humanely resolve the problem of stray dogs in B&H. Finally, JFA’s activities are ultimately driven by our desire to give a voice to thousands of animals under duress and save as many innocent lives as possible.
While JAF is currently publishing articles as often and as quickly as possible, we are eager to do more before it is too late. With support of donors like you, JFA is committed to expanding our journalistic and legal capabilities to investigate illegal operations behind animal cruelty, collect information, educate the public, and put pressure on the authorities to act! Every dollar donated will be used for the purposes to mount a massive campaign to stop animal atrocities that are happening in B&H every day.
We sincerely invite you to support us through donations and by helping us to spread the word about JFA to your friends and the broader animal welfare community.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our website journalistsforanimals.wordpress.com.
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