Ensure the safety and health of dogs at Gladno Polje "shelter", refuse change of ownership to Novi Grad Veterinary station; allow access to the shelter by independent rescuers and activists

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Ensure the safety and health of dogs at Gladno Polje "shelter", refuse change of ownership to Novi Grad Veterinary station; allow access to the shelter by independent rescuers and activists

This petition had 7,632 supporters
Animal Welfare Advocates For Bosnia started this petition to Senaid Memic, Mayor of Ilidza

For images and videos of the shelter please see: Saving the Dogs of Gladno Polje, Bosnia

The veterinary station “Novi Grad Sarajevo”,  owned by the public company Lokom, has offered to take over running of Gladno Polje shelter in Sarajevo, Bosnia Herzegovina. If the authorities of the municipality of Ilidza agree to this, Gladno Polje will then be under the control of the vet Mustafa Mrkulic who is widely known – as well as PC Lokum – as “the worst illegal dog killers in Sarajevo."

PC Lokom is owned by the municipality of Novi Grad Sarajevo. This company has established a notorious group of dog-catchers known as the “hygiene service”. This is known by activists and rescuers to be a criminal organisation that kills stray dogs as part of money laundering activities - stealing funds that are meant to take dogs off the streets and into dog shelters for care. However, there are in fact no shelters able to take in more dogs, so what happens to the dogs, to the money? 

Gladno Polje is a shelter established by local authorities which only works because of the hard work of a tiny group of independent rescuers and activists who fundraise for proper food, who go in and clean the pens and do whatever they can to improve what are horrific conditions, putting straw down on the cold concrete, building boxes for the dogs to sleep in, and even giving water which is often not available (or frozen in winter).

The shelter’s requirements should be funded by the government, but no one knows where the funds go. Nevertheless, the activists have managed to maintain the dogs and finding homes for as many as they can.

If the shelter changes ownership to the Novi Grad Veterinary station, there is a very real possibility that rescuers and activists who are taking care of the dogs will be forbidden to enter Gladno Polje and that the dogs will be illegally killed to make room for more, who will then also be killed and so on. Please note that the Animal Welfare Law of the country does not allow killing in shelters unless the dogs are suffering beyond help or are a danger to themselves or people.

The conditions at Gladno Polje, like most dog shelters in Bosnia, are dire, with no electricity for over a year and the dogs being fed inadequately with chicken by-product from a poultry factory (which is free) and food leftovers from nearby restaurants. This is not nearly enough to feed the dogs, who go hungry on a daily basis. The only thing the shelter pays for is water, since there hasn't been any electricity in the building for well over a year, because of the damage to the roof of the building, which is leaking every time it rains. But even water is sometimes not available. The capacity of the building has been exceeded a long time ago. There are between 150 - 200 dogs there at a time and new dogs are constantly being brought in. The condition in which the dogs live is horrible. Many dog boxes are either damaged or completely collapsed. Hygiene is also very bad. There is no quarantine, so dogs brought in from the street are mixed with the dogs who are already at the shelter. The yard of the shelter is not properly fenced, so hungry dogs are constantly getting into fights with one another. In winter the situation is very bad indeed.

The only reason the dogs survive is because of the work of a very small group of independent volunteers, and they are at the end of their tether, exhausted and demoralised with the unending despair. 

The Bosnia-Herzegovina Act on Protection and Welfare of Animals is in fact one of the best in Europe and yet it is not implemented. The law includes providing adequate care for strays in shelters. Shelters should be built in accordance with professional standards and conditions directed by the law and relevant acts; and the shelter must be managed properly and in accordance with standard operating procedures and practices.

All shelters should have an open door policy. They should be managed with the goal to find homes for the dogs and to provide care for sick or hurt animals.  

The possible change of management of the shelter to “Novi Grad Sarajevo” Vet station can only be a death sentence for most of the dogs. We are petitioning the Mayor of Ilidza to refuse management by “Novi Grad Sarajevo” Vet station and instead to ensure the protection and safety of the dogs there and to actually implement the laws so the conditions are improved to a humane standard, allowing independent rescuers and advocates to participate and monitor the standards.

For more information please see: Uncertain future for Dogs at Gladno Polje Shelter in Sarajevo

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