About

We are a group of journalists from Bosnia and Herzegovina, starting the “Journalists for animals” project. The media in our country refuse to give financial support, or publish stories about animals, especially those concerning criminal actions of different levels of government. Every political party has its media and in such atmosphere there is often no place for the truth.

In the meantime, great sums of money are given for the work of shelters and imaginary spay and neuter programs; in many cases corrupt veterinary inspectors work along with municipality mayors to steal money from the tax payers, while the dogs and cats on the streets of Bosnian cities are poisoned, shot from firearms or starved to death in the so called shelters.

Although the eyes of the world are pointed at Romania, similar things are happening in Bosnia and Herzegovina, only there is no one reporting on these incidents. Our goal is to inform the world about the sufferings of those who have no voice.

Tortured and tormented dogs and cats are everywhere. People harass them daily, the press and medial every now and then writes about dogs attacking “unprotected” citizens … (dogs can be aggressive when they protect their territory or when they are hungry, but I can wonder myself why I am not dead already because of the “more and more aggressive” dogs on our streets!).

Although I do not have money to gather evidence, I know that people from the towns of Hreša and Žunovica and our Hygienic Services (services for the disposal –‘euthanisation’ – of stray dogs) daily poison dogs around Sarajevo. On the other hand, everyone is talking about this constantly, but rarely anyone at all wants to be bothered with such cases. Thousands of dollars are collected and spent on individual cases… (it’s good for that animal in need and I am happy because of every single saved animal but it just isn’t a long term solution.) I understand the need to save “that” dog, but I can’t believe that no one besides us is not concerned about the mass destruction of hundreds of dogs in various shelters. I think of all those poor little eyes in filthy cages throughout Bosnia. What about the illegal breeding of dogs or hunters who daily killing the strays? I’m sure we have at least dozens of unregistered kennels that contribute to the problem of stray dogs. And no one does anything about this problem.

All of this is the reason why I have decided to start the project “Journalists for Animals” with my colleagues. If we can collect enough funds for this project, we will visit the whole of Bosnia Herzegovina and document the situation on the ground. As most of you know, our government has still not brought a decision regarding proposed changes to the animal welfare law, changes that if implemented will have dire consequences for the strays. It’s important that we create media pressure and document the situation on the ground to ensure that the decision, when it comes, has a positive outcome for the animals. We visited almost all of the shelters last year and since then there have been no other visitors who would be willing to publish stories of those poor animals.

I am not saying that Journalists for Animals will be able make any huge difference, but currently there is no one else writing about the situation from inside the country. With support and funding we may also be able to save many lives when we publish photographs from the ‘horror’ shelters of Bosnia Herzegovina. The conditions these public dog shelters are shocking. Food is inadequate (old white bread) or non-existent, often there is no water. There is no heating during the very cold winter months. There is no veterinary care or sterilizing of dogs in these shelters. Dogs have been found dying in their own excrement, being eaten alive by worms. Generally, because it is cheaper than humane euthanisation, the dogs are left to starve or are being “euthanized” by injections of bleach or clubbingAlso, shelters are often used 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 they want and need constant flow of new dogs through the dog shelters so that they can justify the funds spent each month from the budget.  While we investigate these cases and collect evidence, information by itself does not mean anything. Many people know about these cases but, as usual, no one wants to be involved in the organized crime of the country which perpetrates such treatment of animals.

For activists in Sarajevo it is easier to save a puppy or cat from the street. Do not get me wrong: every animal has the right to live, but I personally can no longer even want to fight for the dogs from the streets of Sarajevo. It doesn’t mean I will stop feeding all poor souls on the street or stop trying to find a home for some of them, but believe me, we have more terrible cases all over in Bosnia then you ever seen in Sarajevo.

What about all these “invisible” let’s say “shelters” ? They do not have a voice and they are not of interest to anyone.

My plan for Journalists for Animals is to visit the worst places where animals are beaten to death or live miserable lives. I want the world to become familiar with this problem. The plan is for live reporting from all over Bosnia.

In Colombia I have read that during two years of investigation, an association for the protection and welfare of animals secretly filmed torture of animals in circuses and exposed this treatment. Thanks to this association Colombia banned the keeping of animals in circuses. After reading this I wanted to do something similar in Bosnia.

If you would like to support this project, which will not immediately have results, I’m ready every moment of my free time to devote to fighting for the rights of those who suffer the most.

Except in very critical situations we will not put more dogs in pensions. At 120 euros per month, it is a waste of money when dogs on the periphery are dying from starvation. For them, we need food. We also need to feed all the poor and forgotten dogs that we meet while traveling, whose irresponsible owners just kicked out of the car. Those from Sarajevo streets will somehow manage, but all others have no hope. Who knows, maybe right now there is an elephant trapped in a cage, waiting to go back to the owner of the circus who began beating him violently just because he wants to earn more money, all against the Law, of course. We want to collect evidence of such actions and report it to the veterinary inspection and to the media.

If you want, contact me at paunovicka@gmail.com or journalistsforanimals@gmail.com for more information on how to support this campaign. I am grateful to you anyway, even if the answer is a negative. In any case, I will sleep peacefully because I tried to do something. If I fail, at least I know it’s about time to retire from this world. If I never accomplish my idea, I will know that only way to help animals in Bosnia is to save dogs from the street and nothing more.

If you can help support our campaign, you can donate via PayPal to journalistsforanimals@gmail.com.

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