Macedonia: Eyewitness Report of Skopje. Macedonia Wants EU Membership, but the EU Does Not Want Them Whilst Animal Abuse and Suffering Continues. Now We Ask the EU Animal Welfare Intergroup, and MEPs to ACT !


“They have received threats to stop their activities.

At this point they believe on intervention from the EU can help”. 


Dear Friends of Animals,

I am a British American citizen working with the European Union in Kosovo but spending the weekends in Skopje.

As an animal lover I have become involved in the efforts by local Macedonian animal rights campaigners to stop the dog massacres at Vardariste which I have visited three times bringing with me 100 Euros worth of dog and puppy food to feed the starving dogs and 60 Euros the second time. The third time I went with the President of the Macedonian Animal Welfare Society Nena Ivanovska.

I am appalled at conditions there. The dogs are not fed and killed. Heart of the animals activists told me that dogs disappear weekly ( or even more often) ie. they are starved and killed. For example,  when I visited on Saturday 12 September I carefully noted all the dogs in the cages as I fed all of them on plastic plates.

A staff member of Vardariste, as Heart of the Animals volunteers had warned me they would, followed me around and warned me “no photos”.
The next Saturday , 19 September ALL the 100 or so dogs except 3 small dogs were replaced with new dogs. One of the 3 survivors, a small white one-eyed dog whose lost eye was infected was still there walking around freely with her puppies. I told the Heart volunteer with whom I came to tell the facility vet Dima over the phone to give her some medication for the eye when he came to Vardariste that afternoon.

When I returned the next day Sunday with the President of the Macedonian Animal Welfare Society just to see what conditions were like there on a Sunday the facility was “closed” and the two cages that had been full of dogs the previous day  (only these 2 cages were visible from the entrance) were empty. Also the one eyed white dog who had been freely walking around was nowhere to be seen. I asked a volunteer who would be visiting in the next day or two to ask about the white dog. But noone knew anything and she was unable to find her.

The point is that the dogs are killed and there is noone to defend them. The facility was only opened to visitors from 9-12 on Fridays (when everyone works) and until a few weeks ago from 9-12 on Saturday. So now no one can go in Vardariste from about 2 weeks ago allowed two volunteers to go in Vardariste from 9-5 but they are not allowed to give food or water to the starving dogs. They are reporting that dogs disappear daily.

As a foreigner I am outraged at what is going on. Macedonia is about to join the EU but they are clearly in violation of animal welfare laws.

I would like to add that one of the staff in an effort to “show” how humaneVardariste is on my first visit showed me 40 kg plus bags of Eukanabia in their offices to feed the dogs but it is never given to the dogs. (The food I understand is sold off at half price on the side.) There was not a single grain of food in any of the cages when I went there. And this state of affairs has been going on a while as it was reported to me by animal activists (together with photos) before I visited Vardariste.

The point is that Vardariste this is supposed to be a centre for acapture, spade and release programme but even spaded dogs with yellow tags are being captured and killed. Tiny litters of puppies are also being killed. The 20 plus I saw on my first visit appeared sick and diseased which is confirmed by an activist that is trying to get puppies adopted from Vardariste for Puppy Adoption Day in early October: she told me all the puppies are sickly.

The volunteers are helpless.

They have received threats to stop their activities. At this point they believe on intervention from the EU can help. 

Please do what you can to stop the dog massacres at Vardariste in Skope.


Concerned British citizen with EU MIssion in Kosovo


SAV Comment:

This post is being forwarded directly to the EU Animal Welfare Intergroup, requesting, no demanding, that serious action is now taken with the Macedonian authorities.

Even to the point that until changes are made, attempts will be made to prevent Macedonian EU membership. 

We ask all EU citizens especially to contact their MEP, sending this report above as a request to keep Macedonia OUT of the EU.

Previous SAV posts on this issue: