Will the treatment of stray dogs and cats in the new City's Shelter in Rakovica be the same as in Belgrade City Pound in Ovča?

Sterilization action for Belgrade's stray dogs and cats, that started on 23/10/2009 in the City's Shelter in Rakovica and ended on 10/11/2009, was performed under very bad conditions and in circumstances which no animal protection organization should accept. Therefore we would like to turn public attention from an idyllic picture of the new shelter and the action mentioned above that has been created by municipal authorities and particularly the animal protection organizations that took part in the Project.

,,Belgrade – Euro-P.A.S. and its partner organization from Belgrade Animal Rescue Center (ARC) together with the City of Belgrade organized the Castration Action during which three veterinarians from Europäischen Tier- und Naturschutz (ETN) are sterilizing a few hundreds of stray animals in the new Centre for sterilization in Rakovica, which is a part of Belgrade. This project is a good example how local authorities together with local and foreign animal welfare organizations can work together and help in resolving the problem of stray animals.“

The above quotation was taken from the Internet site of the Organization Euro-P.A.S. Behind these few lines that give an idillyc report implaying also corresponding treatment and conditions there is a different story concealed, as follows:

Until the Sterilisation action began on 23/10/2009 The Shelter in Rakovica (so-called Sterilisation Centrum) wasn't put in operation officialy. The reason was that the building didn't complay with technical regulations and didn't acquired working authorization, which in this particular case practicaly mean that there was not an electrical power supply source that complay to standards for connecting necessary appliances. There was no heating, no fixed phone and no personnel to take care of dogs. There were not even basic devices to maintain hygiene, cleaning equipment and means for dezinfection, but only one brush, one broom, one bucket and one water hose. There were administrative employees, dog catchers and drivers. There were also some help workers which were transferred from the dog pound in Ovcha, whose behavior is a synonime for abusing and killing dogs. That is well known not only in Belgrade, but around Serbia. More then a year ago, all the Belgrade NGOs for animal protection requested from the Mayor of Belgrade that the whole personnel in Ovcha should be substituted.

From the very first day there had been many remarks and complaints from a number of citizens that were bringing stray dogs to be sterilized. At the first sight it became obvious that health of the dogs being on post-surgery recovery has been imperilled due to the bad treatment. The dogs have been placed togather without any selection. Boxes didn't have any heating. After the surgery dogs were thrown on cold concrete covered with urine and faeces. They were not protected with antibiotics and not monitored by veterinarians. In each box there was a single wooden platform giving no room enough for all dogs to settle down. The ground under the platforms was not cleaned.

The food was not supplied regularly and it was thrown on the floor because there were not enough food containers. At the begining there were no water containers. Two weeks after the shelter was put in operation some of them were supplied, but the dogs were still thursty because they didn't get enough of water supply. Weaker dogs couldn't reach food and water, because stronger ones wouldn't let them.

There are dogs that were ill and those that were obviously in poor condition, but they went under sterilization process as well without any care wether they will outlive the operation and how they will recover. The dogs were in permanent fear and stress that influenced their immunity and their recovery accordingly.

Answering to the invitation from Mr. Terzin we sent there one of our volunteers Mrs Ljiljana Hofer who spent few days in the Shelter during the Action helping in feeding, watering and relocating animals and cleaning the boxes. She witnessed everything what we mentioned above. If anybody would like to check directly with her, please ask from us to provide her phone number (Communication language Serbian).