Serbia (Backa Topola): Rescue / Stray Dog and Cat Shelter Owner Killed by Fire Because She Could Not Pay for Electricity – and Most Probably Non-Implementation of Existing (Animal Welfare) Laws by Regional Authorities Which Should Have Given Financial Help.

Video News Link:

In the city of Backa Topola, Mrs. Etela Merk, who runs a no kill shelter for around 350 dogs, WAS KILLED IN A FIRE at her home (the shelter) on the night of 7th March 2011.

From the information which we currently have, Etela Merk was operating the shelter without any electricity – she was having to use candles instead !.

Etela ran the shelter of 350 dogs and many cats, some of whom lived in the house with her and who were consumed by the fire which ravaged the facility.  We understand that many of the animals survived, but that some animals were killed in the fire.

In our opinion, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE to have large fire like that which occurred at the house,and with all the dogs barking, for anyone not to hear anything.

We are all very suspicious of the all circumstances that led to the death of Etela on the night of 7th March.

Etela Merk was an academic artist, a painter who held the position of Professor at Belgrade Academy for Arts. Ten years ago she purchased a ranch and turned it in to shelter for unwanted pets.

Etela had four year old son (some reports say 4 some 5).

The local authorities are not directly in charge of the electricity supply to the house / shelter facility, but despite this, they should have been giving Etela financial aid so that she has enough money to pay for the electricity she requires for the shelter.

The authorities failed to ACT, that is what they are guilty off – a failure to act.

And so, with the death of an innocent victim of the system which fails to implement the law for the protection of stray animals, things have to now go further.  Someone has to be held accountable for the death of Etela Merk because she was not given the support by the authorities which she was entitled to.

We understand that on 9th March, the authorities of Backa Topola sent  workers employed by JKP`Komgrad`  to the shelter, and that they have ‘cleaned and given food to the animals’.

It is a legal obligation of local authorities throughout Serbia to finance the care of stray animals .

Today, 10th March, and using a lawyers advice, a formal Criminal Charge has been made against  those in authority who are guilty of the non-implementation of existing Serbian law.  In the opinion of many, it is because of the non-implementation of the law, that Etela Merk is now dead.  We can confirm that Etela’s young son survived the fire and that hopefully he is going to be adopted by those involved with animal welfare campaigning.

On 9th March, Serbian campaigners spoke with the Mayor of Backa Topola, asking what is being done with the shelter animals now that their carer (Etela) has died in the fire.  The Mayor, Mr. Babi Atila is alleged to have said that the animals will be cared for a certain time but then the animals will be euthanised.

The Mayor was immediately informed that he has a legal obligation to provide care for all the shelter animals; not to kill them; by using money from the city (Backa Topola) budget.  He was verbally informed that if any of the shelter animals are taken and killed, rather than be cared for, he, the Mayor will be held guilty for undertaking illegal acts.

The Mayor was allegedly very angry with what he was told, but we have the law on our side and now that illegalities by the authorities have resulted in the death of a person who cares for animals at a shelter, everything will be done to ensure that those responsible for non-implementation of existing laws are now shamed.

It was the result of this campaigner / Mayor telephone conversation that has now resulted in the implementation of a formal Criminal Charge.

Copies of the Criminal Charges against the Backa Topola authorities can be seen via the following links:

ETELA MERK,Prijava,9.3

ETELA MERK,Prijava,9.3.2011-bilingual 

SAV are currently legally investigating to ascertain if they (as non Serbian citizens) have the right to also make a Criminal Charge under Serbian legislation regarding the death of Etela Merk.  This shelter which was run for stray animals by Etela should have, under existing Serbian legislation, been provided with care to help the strays.

As Etela died in a fire caused by candles due to the fact that she could not pay for the electricity at the shelter; which should have been partly financed by the Backa Topola authorities under existing Serbian law; somebody now has to be made responsible for her untimely death.

Some past SAV links to existing Serbian legislation for stray animals and shelters;

The most important one directly below – the Serbian Constitutional Court Says the Killing of Dogs and Cats is Forbidden from 02/10/2005:

Other links and issues:

 Unfortunately, it may now be the resutling death of a dedicated animal person who should have been getting help in a legitimate way (from the authorities) to provide basics for their shelter, which will be a major issue relating to legal challenges in the coming months.

This case will be forwarded to the EU also.

Ukraine: Take Action and Ask UEFA To Stop Stray Animal Killings at Euro 2012.

Naturewatch Link:

Stray animals being barbarically killed ahead of UEFA Euro 2012 Championships 

Corrupt council bosses in Lugansk are using the forthcoming 14th European Football Championship (UEFA Euro 2012) to kill stray animals.

Please help end us end this barbaric cruelty by writing to UEFA’s President today. We’ve made it really quick and easy – simply print off our template letter, top and tail it and then pop it in the post with a 60 pence stamp (Uk).

Here are links to our March 2011 campaign mailing – please print off and distribute as many copies as you can.

Template letter to UEFA’s President

Naturewatch letter to supporters

UEFA leaflet

Here’s how it works: Football fans from Europe will arrive at Lugansk airport and the fans will be transported by bus to Donetsk stadium where the matches will be played.

Corrupt municipality bosses are using this event, and the expected high number of visitors, to suggest that all stray animals must be killed for safety purposes. They believe this will also enhance the image of the city making it nice and clean and safe. But to do this they need an allocation of money from the city.

The corrupt officials then state a hugely inflated figure of strays and say they need 100 hyrvna (approx 10 Euro’s) to kill each dog. Of course they say the dogs will be humanely euthanised.

Once the money is received from the city budget, they take on a team of unemployed workers and send them out to kill strays with poisoned meat. The cost is a few Euro cents per dog (after all how much does it cost to get some cheap poison and dig a hole to bury the animals – when the hole is full they just dig another one!

For every dog they kill they say they have killed ten or twenty or more. For every 100,000 Euro of budget, it is estimated that perhaps 1000 euros are spent and that leaves 99,000 Euros which is stolen and shared amongst the officials.

Naturewatch urges all football fans and all teams in Europe to write to the UEFA President urging that he takes action to stop this barbaric cruelty in Lugansk.

Notes: This kind of scam is operated in many regions of Ukraine with Kyiv City Municipality being the most corrupt. This has gone on for years and is a big money maker for municipality officials and the corruption is present at the highest levels. 

Ukraine 2012 links: 2012 ukraine 

President – Michel Platini:

Route de Genève 46
Case postale
CH-1260 Nyon 2

Tel: +41 (0) 848 00 2727
Fax: +41 (0) 848 01 2727

Media desk
Tel: +41 (0) 848 04 2727

UEFA Events SA
Route de Genève 46
CH-1260 Nyon 2

Tel: +41 (0) 848 00 2727
Fax: +41 (0) 848 01 2727

Romania: Your Action Required NOW ! – If They Are Allowed to Start This Program There Will be No End. Every Dog/Puppy Will be Rounded Up Systematically Every Day and Sent to These Killing Pounds.

Dear Friends,

Last week the Romanian government met to discuss the possibility of moving forward with an illegal mass slaughter of Romanian stray dogs.  Dogs EXACTLY the same as those that many of you in this group email have adopted.  The authorities want to be able to round up any stray dog or puppy (including those that may be owned but have been allowed to roam), incarcerate them for 7-days and then euthanise them. 

This of course would be sad enough were it not for the fact that of course the dogs will not be humanely euthanised.  The vets (….or even cheap labour/hired help) they will employ to do the task will probably not be qualified and they will use the cheapest methods possible including poison, battering the dogs to death or their preferred method… simply starving them to the point that they kill each other for food.

Since last week there have been many flashpoint protest groups, lots of national press (some of it propaganda by the government trying to whip up support for these measures) but those against these barbaric proposals have won some small victories and pushed back the day when the final decision is made.  It’s possible however that it is only a matter of time before they start.  They have adjourned to look again at the details so we and the international community at large MUST keep the pressure on!  PLEASE send emails to the people listed in Carmen’s report below.  Even if you only have 2-minutes please ask them to ‘choose life and not mass murder’ of these innocent creatures.  Every email sent really makes a difference, it has in the past and we’re all hoping it will in this case!!

If they are allowed to start this program there will be no end.  Every dog/puppy will be rounded up systematically every day and sent to these killing pounds.  This will NOT solve the long-term problem of stray dogs in Romania, it is only a quick fix. 

When they tried a similar thing in Bucharest a few years back, they killed 150,000 dogs, less then 2 years later the numbers had bounced right back to the same level

Every leading expert in the subject of ‘Stray Dog Management’ across the world agrees that extensive and organised CNR (Catch, Neuter and Return) is the only PROVEN way to control the numbers in the long term.

Yet the Romanian authorities refuse to spend money on this and instead prepare to embark on mass murder on the cheap which will solve nothing in the long term.

Thanks for your support.  Please also crosspost and share if you can!!



Dear all,

After the leaders of PD-L (Governmental party) mobilized all their forces including undemocratic and also illegal procedures in view of assure the stray dog management will be done by the big business mass killing, on Monday, the bill no. 912 was debated in the plenum of Chamber of Deputies.

Especially in the last days, 3-4 people made a concentrated lobby upon the deputies, leaders of parliamentary groups, other politicians having different influences which we met/spoke asking them to vote to not accept the law in that form (reintroducing the euthanasia of dogs) and send it back to the Committee for public administration. Also many kind of pressure by many press releases, open letters signed by about 60 Romanian welfare organizations.

Press conference

We (FNPA) organized a press conference, at Hotel “Novotel”, Bucharest (thanks to Mr. Dieter Ernst, ETN who paid the costs of renting the room) were the special guests were:

the princess Maja v. Hohenzollern

Dieter Ernst, the president of ETN, Germany

Av. Paula Iacob, a famous advocate

Maricica Puica, a known Olympic and World champion at athletics

Monica Davidescu, actress

Marius Marinescu, the initiator of the law

Remus Cernea, an ecologist and one of the candidates for President of Romania

In plenum:

At 4 o’clock about 35 people, wearing black t-shirts inscribed with “Alege viata” (“Choose the life”), have been accepted to assist at the meeting of the plenum of Chamber of Deputies. Other about 500 protestant people were outside, in front of Chamber of Deputies.

When the coordinator of the meeting read the title of the PL 912, all of us stand up and wait the verdict. The representatives of parliamentary groups started to have a short speech and (excepting the Government parties, PD-L and UDMR) all of them proposed the legislative project to be returned to the Committee for amendments and to be debated again after 3 weeks. 70 deputies (from 115 totally present) voted for that. We were completely excited and the balconies were filled out with applause.

Photos from press conference and protest rally, Bucharest, 7 March:

The coming in Romania of princess Maja and Mr. Ernst were very good as they could speak in the name of animal lovers from outside, the necessity of education, empowerment of dog owners, mass sterilization program, image of Romania, was efficient.

Also Princess Maja attended to some telecasting/shows in different national televisions.


WE GOT NOW A VICTORY BUT NOT THE WAR. This does not mean the euthanasia will not be introduced anymore, but only we have a little bit more time to fight much more.

So still need your help:

–       send protest letters by:

–          fax: 00 40 21 3134931; 00 40 21 3146934

–          emails (email addresses bellow)

–          send open letters to your mass media and let me know the links such as we’ll be able to send the information in Romanian mass media; the pressure made by the international mass media is more powerful. Speak about the bad, cruel image Romania will have – this is what the Romanian authorities is very affected

–          contact influent people (like politicians) from your countries who can put a pressure to the leaders of PD-L like, for example: Elena Udrea, Tourism Minister, Mircea Toader (the leader of deputies from PD-L party), Sulfina Barbu (the president of the Committee for public administration)

–          possible before the debating in Committee for public administration and, after, in Chamber of Deputies we need some of you in Romania.

Thank you.


Carmen Arsene


Deputies – Chamber of Deputies

(Camera Deputatilor),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Romanian MEPs – deputies in European Parliament

(Europarlamentari romani and cabinet of president of the European Parliament),,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,



Scientific Researcher


Institute for Nuclear Research Pitesti

str. Campului no.1

PO Box 78, 115400 Mioveni

jud. Arges, Romania

tel.: + 40 248 213400 ext 590