Persecution of stray dogs in Bosnia and Herzegovina


The photographs you see below are from Zunovnica. A former military base in Hadzic, it is now a “shelter” of Canton Sarajevo, joining the many “horror” shelters of Bosnia. This is one of the pounds the infamous dog catchers of KJKP Rad Hygienic Service bring dogs to. Left in their urine and feces, the dogs are starving. Conditions are almost the same as in concentration war camps. Some rescuers have managed to release a few dogs but many, many more will be brought in. It is a never-ending horror and there are no organisations within Bosnia able to help, and international animal welfare organisations have great difficulty in being involved due to the wide-spread corruption at all levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Please note that the situation for the citizens of the country is also dire, with some of the highest rates of unemployment in the world. Rescuers struggle to feed themselves, let alone their rescues.

If you want to help please write letters as outlined in this post – there are email addresses in the post to write to. PLEASE WRITE LETTERS. Petitions do very little. Writing letters to your embassy in Bosnia, and to International Welfare organisations, is the only way to help improve the situation.

Money laundering behind killing of stray dogs in Sarajevo

For your convenience, here is the information from the post mentioned above.


1. Write letters to your embassy representative in Bosnia:

To find your Embassy in Bosnia-Herzegovina go here:

To find any MEP in Europe, use this ‘Euromap’

You can find any MEP by name using this alphabetical list:

2. Write letters to the Bosnian authorities:

Prime minister of Canton Sarajevo, Dino Konaković:

Minister of Utility infrastracture, Senad Hasanspahić: and

3. Write letters to international animal welfare organisations:

You can google organizations’ names for their email addresses or go to Wikipedia’s list for information.

Below is a draft letter you can modify to use. Or you can simply copy and paste the link to this blog post and ask that something be done. Please be sure to address it to a specific person and to sign it, including your own contact details.


Dear XXX,

Millions of citizens care deeply about animal welfare and are sickened to see constant reports of horrific animal cruelty. Countries seeking to acquire EU membership need to demonstrate certain standards of animal care, and so I want to bring to your attention Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are seeking admission, and yet who constantly contravene their own animal welfare laws.

In 2009, the Law on Animal Welfare and Protection entered into force in Bosnia Herzegovina. Among other things this law prescribes that owners of dogs and cats are to register their animals at the veterinary organization and mark them with microchips. Additionally, within the period of one year, institutions were obliged to build humane shelters in which all abandoned and lost animals found on the streets should be placed after being caught by a hygienic service, and in which they would be treated in a humane way and provided adequate veterinary care. Until then, stray animals could be spayed and turned back to the street, while only sick or aggressive dogs and animals in agony were to be euthanized.

So far, no legally prescribed measure has been conducted. Since the local authorities have not conducted sufficient neutering campaigns on time and properly, the number of stray dogs has multiplied. Dogs Trust sterilization campaigns have not been able to significantly reduce the numbers of dogs in Sarajevo. Owners are continuing to abandon their unsterilised dogs or the unsterilised offspring of their pets, so the number of dogs in the Canton Sarajevo still seems to be around several thousands. No one knows the exact number as there is no database. Local authorities built several shelters around Sarajevo in which conditions are even not close to a satisfactory level; animals have no vet care, and their conditions and treatment are inhumane. These shelters include Praca, Hresa, Gladno Polje and Zunovnica with a maximum capacity of around 600 dogs in total. Dogs often die due to sickness or are attacked by other dogs. Conditions are almost the same as in concentration war camps. Dogs survive thanks to groups of volunteers and animal-friendly citizens of Sarajevo who visit them and provide food and some medicines. Some public companies donate food or food scraps. Lucky dogs are homed in Bosnia or abroad thanks to volunteers.

Thousands of those remaining on the streets cannot be placed in shelters as they are overcrowded. Furthermore, there is not any official evidence as to how many dogs are taken from the streets, how many arrive in the shelters, what their health condition is, how many are euthanized and for what reason, and how many are currently at the shelters. There is no adequate inspection in practice, no official cooperation with the NGO sector which could make and keep evidence on everything in cooperation with the authorities. Hence dogs are often left at the mercy of employees of the hygienic service and shelter owners. No one knows how many die in between visits of the volunteers and due to what reason.

On 30 June, 2016, Cantonal Government issued a decision which requires the utility company KJKP Rad (Hygienic Service), in collaboration with Veterinary Station and supported by the police, to remove all stray dogs they find on the street. In the course of their action, they take every dog, regardless of whether they are aggressive, sick, spayed (with a visible mark at the plate on the ear) or not. Even babies. While the Government is claiming that this is being done legally and in a humane way, the implementation is illegal due to the fact that there is no space and no conditions at the shelters to put new arrivals of dogs. Therefore, it is obvious that hundreds and thousands of dogs taken from the streets are killed.

Furthermore, government public statements have been made with regards to this dog catching stating there is a need to collect aggressive and ill street dogs, which is part of the country’s animal welfare law. The same law prohibits the destruction of healthy dogs. And yet, animal welfare activists have documented healthy and non-aggressive dogs being caught and removed. In addition, the problem of strays in the city is a result of owners either letting their unsterilised dogs free-roam, or abandoning their unsterilised dogs.

Increased numbers of dogs on the streets is a direct result of irresponsible ownership, with owners either letting their unsterilised dogs free-roam or abandoning their unsterilised dogs, and the government’s failure to implement preventive measures that are provided by the laws; such as punishing those who abandon animals, creating a registration of pets, providing adequate spay/neuter projects with vaccination and tagging of stray animals in an appropriate form and number, and education and information campaigns aimed at raising public awareness about the causes of the problem.

The BiH law on Protection and Welfare of Animals very clearly provides solutions for dealing with an overpopulation of stray animals in Bosnia. The first legal obligation of authorities is to build shelters for stray animals, whose purpose is to care for stray animals until they are adopted. Conditions that all shelters must fulfill are outlined in the law.

Regarding registration of pets, for seven years the State Veterinary Office has not enacted the laws on registration, micro-chipping and identification of ownership of animals in Bosnia and Herzegovina, nor has it established a unified database for registration.

The only way to solve this problem is for municipalities and governments to establish their own database of owners of animals. If the database of tagged animals and owners of animals is established, it will enable the identification, prosecution and punishment of people who abandon animals.

Also, the dog shelters in this country are documented by animal rescue organisations and activists to be inhumane ‘death camps’ for dogs, and are in fact used for money laundering purposes. Money destined for the dogs and the shelters is pocketed.

I am writing to ask your assistance in ensuring that the current ‘dog catching’ service of the public utility company KJKP Rad Ltd. Sarajevo and public company “Veterinary Station” Ltd. be monitored and investigated to ensure it works according to Bosnian law and that the shelters in Sarajevo – in particular Zunovnica shelter – and other public shelters in the country have radically improved conditions, and in particular that animal activists be allowed to document and ensure that the laws are applied.

We have been advised by BiH lawyers and activists that as the BiH politicians themselves are involved in stealing of money from illegal shelters and hygienic ‘dog catching’ services, and that since the prosecutors and police officers are also corrupt, the only way to force the BiH political establishment to stop their illegal practices is pressure from international organisations and, especially, embassies.

The existing Animal Welfare and Protection Act of Bosnia-Herzegovina is in fact a good and enforceable law. The only reason the law is not being enforced is because certain political and professional circles do not want to do it.

The law states that every city and town has to build shelters for stray animals. All shelters for stray animals have to provide a NO KILL policy and adequate care, including veterinary care for the animals housed there. Again, the truth is that the conditions in most public shelters are horrific, with dogs being left for days without water, food or care of any kind. There is documented evidence of this.

As you will be aware, the European Union provides the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina with many millions of euros worth of financial aid each year. My understanding of the provisos attached to these aid packages is that there is a requirement for the recipient country to abide by EU laws which would include the laws related to animal welfare. The Commission has stated that aligning national animal welfare legislation with EU law is a prerequisite for EU membership.

I would urge you please to raise the above issues with the European Commission and the European Parliament’s Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals ( and, critically, with your representatives in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

The issue of the failure of the BiH authorities to apply even the barest minimum of the law to ensure the safety of the animals must be addressed. It is imperative that the European Commission and the Parliament discusses this matter with their Bosnia and Herzegovina counterparts.

We urge you to help ensure that the Bosnia Herzegovina authorities implement internationally agreed-upon guiding principles on humane stray dog population control and management, and that resources be allocated to ensure such principles are followed.

Many thanks for your time, I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

[Your name]



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