Demand Investigation into Horror Shelter in Gladno polje, Sarajevo, Bosnia
How everything started
The smallest of two state shelters in Sarajevo is called Gladno Polje. Senaid Memić, one of the municipality mayors in Sarajevo (Ilidža municipality), signed a contract with the Agricultural cooperative (website http://upizzilidza.com/) to build a shelter on land owned by the Agricultural cooperative. It was to house about 120 dogs. The land for the shelter belongs to the Agricultural cooperative. The municipality supplied money for the construction work and volunteers were brought in to care for the dogs, however volunteers also provided their own funds for the construction and they were involved in cleaning up one of the buildings that existed on the land: a chicken farm.
The Director of the agricultural cooperative (Almir Džanković ) accepted the contract with the municipality without the agreement of the volunteers and employees who would be ultimately responsible for the dogs welfare. Essentially, the employees were ‘given’ 120 dogs to take care of, with minimal wages and no funds to take care of the dogs.
As we know, the municipality gives about 2 500 EUR every month to pay salaries for employees and to pay water and other bills. The employees have no health insurance, their salaries are paid in cash, and they are not involved in the paying of bills so they don’t know what actually happens with the money.
There are about 200 dogs in and around the shelter. It’s impossible to know the exact number because people constantly leave strays in front of the shelter. There are big and small dogs, about 60 puppies, healthy and sick dogs.
There are several really big problems.
- There is no money for veterinary care
- There is no spay or neuter program
- There is no heating during the winter
- There is not enough dog food
The employees and volunteers at the shelter are actually beggars on social networks. If they collect donations, 200 EUR or even more – it means nothing. One vaccine for one dog for an infective disease costs 10 EUR, one basic veterinary exam costs 10 EUR, antibiotics 13 EUR and so on. Vets in Sarajevo will not see a dog without funds upfront, and thus many die.
Because there is no spay / neuter program, most of dogs are always in their cages and never go out.
When winter temperatures hit -20 to -30 degrees. In the Shelter, dogs sleep on the concrete or wet boards. Once they had beds made out of wood, but since the dogs are closed in for the most of the time, they have either eaten the wood or it has disintegrated due to the water used to clean the boxes. Volunteers of the shelter constantly beg for old clothes to be donated to them. Dogs and especially puppies especially cannot live like this.
The greatest gratitude for the survival of the shelter and the dogs to Sanela Kotorić Etterle and Adnan Smailbegovic, who fight the most for everything dogs need.
How it looks like today
About ten days ago, Sanela Kotorić Etterle and Adnan Smallbegovic have been refused entry to this shelter. They have worked there since it opened (a year ago). Sanela has done everything she possibly can to help the 200+ dogs there in an untenable situation.
They both volunteered at first when the shelter was being built and then were taken on as employees - but without health insurance or any job security and devastatingly inadequate provisions for the dogs there.
Sanela has spent every moment of her day looking after the dogs and raising funds for their food and care - as no money is given by the state or the director of the shelter for veterinary care, for spay-neuter programs, for adequate food, and there is no heating in this shelter.
And now, after all Sanela and Adnan have done, they are refused entry to the shelter. They have been forbidden contact with the dogs. The locks on the doors have been changed. There are 3 workers still there, but all without insurance etc and as far as I can tell, without any ability to care for the dogs.
We demand from the local authorities to urgently conduct a survey of the overall circumstances in the shelter Gladno polje ,because the agony is lasting too long , the volunteers can't do this ! the authorities need to start doing their job!