Macedonia: Public Company “Komunalna Higiena” – Skopje, Who have Attempted to Cover Up Pound Killings for Years, Are Now Informed by the Commission That They Have to Provide Data on Dogs Taken to and Killed at Vardariste Pound, Skopje.

Dear Sir/ Madam,  

We would like once again ask for your help, because the situation with the stray dogs in Skopje and Macedonia is not improving in any way. In this letter we would like to point out all the irregularities, as well as the documents we possess and which refer to and give evidence of what is happening here, and which we believe will give you the full image of the terror.  

We would like to ask if you could help us by acting in response to this situation on your behalf once again, since in spite of all our reactions as an Association for protection of animals to all the competent authorities, and in spite the fact that we constantly point out all the irregularities through the media, still the situations is worsening, and not only that the killing of the dogs does not stop, but it continues to intensify.   

We sincerely hope that if our reactions toward the authorities are supported by You directly, the pressure will be more significant and the chances to stop the killings greater, so we may be able to change this horrid reality.

The holding facility besides being closed for the public, that is, visiting is not allowed accept for 6 hours a week, taking of photos and videos is also prohibited and the conditions are worst then catastrophic (one of the latest things that we managed to film was a dead dog in a cage which they didn’t notice for an entire day – obviously they don’t even check the cages, meaning, they don’t feed or give water to the dogs regularly), and dogs that are completely not aggressive are noted as being aggressive and set to be killed – without it being confirmed by a veterinarian! 
 

In the meantime the dogs are constantly being caught; there are 8 teams of dog catchers, whose members are extremely uneducated, inefficient and cruel (a significant number of them have previously worked in slaughter houses, or they are hunters and some of them have criminal record).  

The dogs are being brought to the facility in massive numbers and in just a day or two they disappear; and when we express interest for any of the missing dogs they reply that they have been adopted, without enabling us to learn where and by whom – we believe that they are being killed.

Even though we asked for the data that give evidence of the work done by the Holding Facility which should be public, including the records of captured dogs, the records of euthanized dogs with the signature of the veterinarian who concluded the reason why the dog should be euthanized, as well as the documents for the procurement of barbiturates – the means for humane euthanasia, we never received the answers, which indicates that the dogs are being killed arbitrarily and by God knows what means!   

Although the facility is obligated by law to disclose and deliver this kind of data, although they are obligated by the Commission for access to information of public character to officially respond to our requests, so far, they have answered by only giving us rough numbers of captured and killed dogs (falsifying the numbers of killed dogs), clearly avoiding our focus of interest – accurate statements of the motives for the killings and the means by which they were conducted.   

Enclosed is our Request for information of public character, the Response from the public enterprise “Communal Hygiene”, our Appeal upon their response which was accepted by the Commission for access to information of public character, to which they, again, did not respond.  

The same happened when another association asked for these information, but received even worst response – in a most rude and unbelievably impudent manner they were told they should not ask such questions at all, and that it is not their business to inquire! (this document is being translated and we will soon deliver it to you).  


IMPORTANT LINKS to inform you about terrible situation
  

https://serbiananimalsvoice.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/macedonia-actions-for-vardariste-pound-skopje-campaign-%e2%80%93-part-3-of-3/   

http://balkansanimalsuffering.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/macedonia-still-no-change-your-help-and-attention-now-required-to-help-macedonian-campaigners/  

SAVE THE DOGS IN MACEDONIA FROM GENOCIDE / DA GI SPASIME KUCINJATA OD VARDARISTE
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Skopje-Macedonia/DA-GI-SPASIME-KUCINJATA-OD-VARDARISTE/176149692261?v=photos#!/album.php?aid=121506&id=176149692261  

THE TRUTH ABOUT VARDARISHTE
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=176804181886#!/topic.php?uid=73744327157&topic=13831  

STOP THIS MASSACRE OF STRAY DOGS IMMEDIATELY, THE WORLD IS WATCHING YOU!!
http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=173341881886  

DO YOU FEEL LUCKY !?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GdGJyqf2l8A  

We most fervently ask you to help us and put pressure on the responsible authorities in Macedonia, since we are convinced that all of this is an organized strategy to exterminate the dogs form the streets!  

The most responsible authority is the Mayor of City of Skopje, the person who disallowed that the facility be open to visitors every day, prohibited taking of photos and filming of the captured dogs at the facility, and instead of increasing the numbers of the veterinarians who would neuter the dogs, engaged 8 teams of dog catchers. (before there were 1 or 2), procured new vehicles and equipment.   

We organized a massive protest accompanied by a request that the facility should strictly implement the CNR programme for which it was initially established, to accept and deploy volunteers, to work transparently and to disclose all the information requested by the citizens and the associations, to improve the conditions and to be opened every day for visitors who would be able to take photos whose publishing on the net would help find families for these strays.

None of our requests were put into consideration and all of them were ignored!

The Veterinarian Department within the Ministry is well informed about this situation and the horrible conditions, they are also well informed about the way the work is being carried out in the holding facility, including the conditions in which they keep the dogs and the way they treat them. In spite of this they chose not to react and to apply sanctions against the responsible personnel. Our association is constantly submitting appeals in which we report about the irregularities for which we have numerous evidence in photos and we ask the Veterinarian Authority Department to take action.  

In the meantime, the Ministry (the Veterinarian Authority Department) is drafting a Rulebook on the operations of holding facilities, shelters, and transit centers. In our opinion the Rulebook is highly inconsistent within itself and gives room for misinterpretation that is, it allows for arbitrary and subjective decisions to be made by the officials in charge of this type of facilities. One sticking example is the prescription for all three types of above mentioned facilities, that dog should be kept for no longer than 5 days, in which period the dog can be adopted, and if it is not, after the expiration of this 5 day period the dog shall be killed. This ordinance is clearly inconsistent with the CNR program. We believe that this gives alibi and practical conditions for massive extermination for several reasons:

Firstly, the holding facility currently is opened for visitors twice a week for 3 hours, which doesn’t give opportunity citizens that are interested in adopting to come into the facility at their convenience.  

Secondly the general awareness of the citizens about adopting a stray and animal welfare is still very low. It is most likely that in this situation where the problem has been neglected for decades and there are no shelters of any kind of dogs, or any transit centers for massive sterilization/castration.  

This kind of regulations will only give open way for massive and unjustified killing of unaggressive and healthy animals, which only serves the narrow interests for instant and false solution.  

************************ HELP – ACTION YOU CAN TAKE PLEASE ***********************  

That’s why we are desperately asking you to help us, and put a pressure on the authorities, in this case to the:  

1.      Mayor of the City of Skopje (Koce Trajanovski   gradonacalnik@skopje.gov.mk

2.      The Veterinarian Department who till now ignore our appeals from the animal protection organizations (Director of the Department is Dejan Runtevski,    druntevski@veterina.gov.mk

and   

3.      to  the applier of this program – the Public enterprise Communal Hygiene khs@khigiena.com.mk   –   , Director Rakip Doci)  

 and to write them a letter in which you request his personal effort to stop the killings and to perform the strategy of Catch-Neuter-Release.   

We need your assistance in order to stop this cruelty and killings.   

We are fully aware that you are an organization with great influence and therefore we ask you to put a pressure in the European institutions and European Parliament too, emphasizing that Macedonia as an aspirant to become a member country of EU as of standards and human norms in solving this problem, and not to behave in a barbarian and cruel way in the 21st century.          

We would be very grateful if you can start a petition for us and give us advice for our further activities concerning this problem.  

Looking forward to your answer at your earliest convenience
We remain sincerely yours,  

Animal protestion organization Anima Mundi  

President Stole Velkovski  

FREE ACCESS TO INFORMATION OF PUBLIC INTEREST

– AN OVERVIEW OF THE SITUATION.  

The Appeal of Meri Jordanovska from the city of Skopje against the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje  

Commission for protecting the right of free access to information of public interest, acting on the Appeal of Meri Jordanovska from the city of Skopje against the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje, related to her Request for free access to information of public interest, according to articles 28 and 32 of the Law for free access to information of public interest; on its meeting on October 27 2009 has made the following.  

 

D E C I S I O N  

Appeal of Meri Jordanovska from the city of Skopje, made against the answer of the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje, in part that relates to her Request for “names and job positions of all employees of Vardariste, including those employed on a part-time basis, and the copy of the annual report of activities of this dog shelter”  is accepted, and the Public company Komunalna HigienaSkopje is ordered  to give the requested information in period of no longer than 15 days after this Decision has been delivered, in form that was asked in the Request.   

Part of the Appeal that relates to the information of “the number of dogs being killed and the way they were killed, the name of the person which executed euthanasia, and for what reason it was made – for each single dog in 2008 and 2009” is also accepted and the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje is ordered to re-deliver this request to the one that has such information, in period of no longer than 15 days after this Decision has been delivered.  

 

E L A B O R A T I O N  

Commission for protecting the right of free access to information of public interest has acted on the Appeal of Meri Jordanovska No. 07-484/1 dated August 31 2008, made against the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje, related to her Request for free access to information of public interest. In part in which she requests documents for “names and job positions of all employees of Vardariste, including those employed on a part-time basis, and the copy of the annual report of activities of this dog shelter” the Commission has ordered the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje to give the requested information in period of no longer than 15 days after this Decision has been delivered, in form that was asked in the Request.  

Part of the Appeal that relates to the information of “the number of dogs being killed and the way they were killed, the name of the person which executed euthanasia, and for what reason it was made – for each single dog in 2008 and 2009” was also accepted and the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje was ordered to re-deliver this request to the one that has such information, in period of no longer than 15 days after this Decision has been delivered.  

After deliberation on the Appeal, Request, and other files associating the Subject, the Commission has made the following Conclusion:  

Meri Jordanovska from the city of Skopje on July 1 2008 has issued a Request for free access to information of public interest, to the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje, in which she writes:  

“List with names and job positions of all employees of Vardariste, including those employed on a part-time basis; copy of the annual report of activities of the dog shelter. Subject of our interest is the number of dogs being killed and the way they were killed, the name of the person which executed euthanasia, and for what reason it was made – for each single dog in 2008 and 2009; Insight in the amount of money being spent for the needs of Vardariste. We want to know how much money was spent for food for the animals, for euthanasia, and for medical treatment. What was the quantity of barbiturates purchased in 2008 and 2009 (insight in the document for purchase); Information on the name of the subject who won the public tender for medical treatment of street animals in 2008 and 2009.”  

In relation to the above mentioned Request, the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje with the Announcement No. 03-9772 from July 29 2009 has informed the Request petitioner that “the period for access to the information requested will be prolonged at the most 40 days after the Request has been made”.  

In relation to the above mentioned Request, the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje on August 17 2009 has also delivered a Response No. 03-8760/2 to the petitioner Meri Jordanovska.  

Dissatisfied with the answer, Meri Jordanovska on August 31 2009 submitted Appeal to the Commission, in which she states “part of the answers does not include information that was asked for in the Request”. In the Appeal, she specifies:  

“The Request comprised of information on names and job positions of all the employees of Vardariste; but the answer contained only the job positions of the employees but not  their names”.   

“In my Request it was firmly expressed my interest for the way the dogs are killed in Vardariste (if it’s with a needle injection, quotation on its type); the name of the person (not the organization) which euthanizes; as well as the insight and copies of every single dog that has been euthanized in 2008 and 2009”.   

The Commission, with letter No.07-484/2 from September 3 2009, forwarded the Appeal to the Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje, and made a request, in the shortest timeframe possible (immediately) to explain its stand on the issue and to deliver to the Commission all the files regarding this Subject.  

Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje sent a Response on the appeal No.03-9772/5 from September 16 2009, to the Commission. In the Response it is written that “the part one of the Request of Meri Jordanovska is insubstantial because the information asked actually reveals personal data information, which is violation of personal data information protection, according to the Law for free access to information of public interest.  

As for the second part of the Request, Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje has also stated that it is insubstantial, because “Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje with a letter No. 03-8760/5 from September 10 2009, has informed Meri Jordanovska that her Request relates to information that Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje does not possess, and she was again informed that veterinary services are performed by the institution of Veterinaren Centar DOOEL – Skopje, which was chosen after a public tender for such services”.  

In relation to all of the above mentioned in the Response, the Commission wants to point out the following:  

It is true that names are personal data information, but only by this data one can not identify certain individual, so they don’t have the same degree of protection as some other sensitive personal data information which are a whole different category and are particularly protected. For instance, in one given city there is a possibility that several citizens with the same name and surname exist, so solely on the basis of their names, one can not reveal their identity.  

For a certain individual to be identified there has to be more information that is specific only for its identity. Identity of a person can be determined directly or indirectly, especially by its National Identification Number, or by one or more specific characteristics for its physical, mental, economic, cultural or sociological identity.  

So it appears that in this case, revealing of the names of employees does not mean that it’s a violation of personal data information protection.  

In relation to the claims in the part two of the Response to the Appeal, the Commission wants to point out the following:  

Public company Komunalna Higiena – Skopje has acted in accordance with article 26 paragraph 2 of the Law for free access to information of public interest, and has informed the Request petitioner that it does not possess the information which petitioner asked for.   

Nevertheless, it did not act in accordance with article 18 paragraph 1 of  the Law for free access to information of public interest:   

If the owner of information which has received a Request doesn’t have such an information at his disposal at the moment, he must immediately resend petitioner’s Request to an institution that has such an information, and he’ll inform the petitioner for this development”.  

Because of the all abovementioned, the Commission has decided as elaborated in the disposal of this Decision.  

Against this Decision, if not satisfied, one can file a Lawsuit in a period of 30 days after its delivery.  

Stamp of the Commission  

President  

Janko Nikolovski  

————————————————  

 

Past SAV links and photographs associated with Vardariste – Skopje pound:  

https://serbiananimalsvoice.wordpress.com/2010/02/16/macedonia-160210-update-still-no-change-your-massive-action-and-support-now-needed-please-read-on/  

https://serbiananimalsvoice.wordpress.com/2010/01/09/macedonia-dogs-being-hunted-with-baseball-bats-killed-and-dumped-on-local-landfill/  

https://serbiananimalsvoice.wordpress.com/2009/12/14/macedonia-sav-now-supports-eu-eurogroup-for-animals-by-formally-writing-letter-to-eu-commissioners-expressing-concerns-about-conditions-and-animal-suffering-at-vardariste-holding-facility-skopje-ma/  

https://serbiananimalsvoice.wordpress.com/2009/12/11/macedonia-no-change-at-skopje-now-the-eu-animal-welfare-intergroup-president-writes-to-the-eu-commissioner-asking-for-actions/  

https://serbiananimalsvoice.wordpress.com/2009/11/14/macedonia-actions-for-vardariste-pound-skopje-campaign-%e2%80%93-part-3-of-3/  

https://serbiananimalsvoice.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/macedonia-vardariste-pound-skopje-campaign-%e2%80%93-part-2-of-3/  

https://serbiananimalsvoice.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/macedonia-vardariste-pound-skopje-campaign-part-1-of-3/  

https://serbiananimalsvoice.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/macedonia-important-new-campaign-launch-save-the-dogs-at-vardariste-pound-skopje/    

PLEASE SUPPORT THIS VITAL CAMPAIGN by sending a mail / letter as detailed above – Thank You – SAV.