SAV comment – The following report is being presented by SAV to the Legal Affairs department of the EU, Brussels, as proof that Serbia is NOT enforcing the rule of law; a requirement for all member states seeking EU accession.
If this is the way Serbia continues to abuse animals, then it is not wanted within the EU. If it gains EU membership, then we will really start to have a good time with EU Legal Affairs in presenting all stories from within Serbia.
Information provided through ‘SAWN’ – the Serbian Animal Welfare Network.
Wording directly as written, with no modifications.
DOGCATCHERS’ SAFARI IN NEW BELGRADE – ATTACK ON HUMAN AND DOGS’ LIFE
On the 13th of March 2012 Veterinary Belgrade Zoo hygiene team started to „clear the ground“ of the street dogs in two New Belgrade locations: at large park between the Palace of Serbia (previously known as SIV) and Danube River and at the former building site of Energoprojekt at Španski borci Street.
The dogs by the Palace of Serbia originate from dogs which have been living at the big building site in Proleterske solidarnosti Street. Upon completion of all works on the building site the dogs have moved into the uninhabited area by the Palace of Serbia. The dogs from Energoprojekt building siteoriginate from few dogs which survived the poisoning by strychnine in the vicinity of Belgrade Arena in September of 2005 shortly before the European championship in volleyball when Veterinary Station Belgrade ( the old name of Veterinary Belgrade) received an order of the Belgrade City Department of Environment and Ecology to “clear the ground“.
The lawsuit of the fosters of those dogs to the Prosecutor’s office despite all pathological and toxicological findings and autopsy reports as well as witness statements the findings did not go further than the County Prosecutor’s.
On the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th of March 2012 at Palace of Serbia the dog catchers were chasing the dogs driving in five new cars of Veterinary Belgrade with rotating lights on. The dogcatchers were chasing the group of distrustful, peaceful, well fed and healthy dogs which do not approach people on the lawns around the woods and bushes where dogs were hiding. The frightened dogs fled in all directions.
As the dogs were running faster, the dogcatchers were driving faster with no care about the direction in which they were chasing the dogs and driving them out to boulevards of Mihajlo Pupin and Nikola Tesla. Two young dogs which were driven out in that way in full gallop on Nikola Tesla Boulevard were killed under the wheels of cars on the 13th of March 2012. So doing the dogcatchers directly caused the death of the dogs and directly endangered the safety of traffic participants, i.e. they endangered lives of people who were driving or were driven the boulevard at the time. Except the direct attack on the lives of humans and dogs, the dogcatchers traumatized the drivers and the passengers of the cars by which the dogs were killed, as well as the passengers of the buses who were disgusted by the whole scene watching the chase during a stop at traffic lights.
Their “booty“, young dogs about a year old packed in two large parked vans. The older dogs as faster, stronger, more experienced and more skilled at hiding resisted a few more days. On the 16th of March 2012 the dog catchers came in only two cars at Palace of Serbia going on to chase traumatized and already tortured dogs on the lawns. They hit the oldest bitch named Big Mama by the car then and they killed her right at the spot by smashing her neck.
The witness Aleksandra Dokić ran to the dog and photographed the corpse of it before the dogcatchers returned to carry it away. The fosters Nada Prokić and Mileta Kusurović were also at the spot. After completion of the chase at Palace of Serbia the dogcatchers went over to an “easier“ job at ex-building site of Energoprojekt.
A group of about ten dogs lives, i.e. lived on the site which is no longer in function. All dogs in the group except one female dog were neutered, vaccinated and micro chipped by Veterinary Belgrade during the fall of 2011 and earlier.
The dogs are distrustful, non-aggressive, well fed and calm. They did not leave the fenced area of the former building site. The fosters called the dogcatcher and helped them to catch most of these dogs by using blowers in the fall of 2011 to be neutered in Neutering Center and Shelter Resnik and then returned to the dogs’ habitat at Energoprojekt. The dogs were returned from Resnik micro chipped on names of the fosters who helped the dogcatchers to catch the dogs.
As it was in 2006, 2007 and 2008 Zoo hygiene again forces the fosters to accept status and responsibilities of the owners in order to return neutered dogs to their habitats. But there is a difference compared to the previous decade: On the 21st of September 2011 the City Assembly adopted the latest Strategy of Solving Non Owned Dogs and Cats Problem on Territory of Belgrade City. Veterinary Belgrade as a direct perpetrator of the Strategy is required to operate in accordance with and on the guidelines of the Strategy.
One of the specific objectives of the Strategy is the introduction to the legal status of the street animal fosters. On the contrary Veterinary Belgrade has been turning the fosters into the owners of street dogs for months now, thereby reversing the stated objective of the Strategy, as well as one of two basic methods of the Strategy: Catch – Neuter – Release.
On the other hand Veterinary Belgrade usually does not inform the “owners“ of street dogs when their dogs are caught despite the Regulation on Conditions which must be fulfilled by Shelters and Pensions for Animals (Pravilnik o uslovima koje moraju da ispunjavajuprihvatilišta i pansioni za životinje), and which obliges Veterinary Belgradeto (Article 36 point 2) and which has recently entered into force.
If the “owners“ are informed they are not allowed to take their dogs over. The whole problem has the economic aspect too: catching and transport of owned dog is charged 5.500,00 rsd and a day of dog’s stay in shelter is charged 400,00 rsd.
On the 13th of March 1012 the dogcatchers started to hunt the already neutered dogs at Energoprojekt which are registered as owned dogs of people who feed them and take care of them. One dog was caught by the blower on the first day of hunt and another dog was caught the same way on the next day.
On the 15th of March the remaining, already traumatized, intelligent dogs hided under worker’s shack looking for security. Finding out their hiding place the dogcatchers battered at the shack, moved concrete slabs on which the shack is placed so putting the dogs in danger of falling off the shack onto them. The dogcatchers used iron bars, wooden beams, iron hooks and wooden boards to blindly hit the dogs from one side of the shack while other dogcatchers were waiting on the other side with wire ropes to put over the dogs’ necks.
They were caught by the wire rope and drew out a terrified dog with bloody head then and they quickly gave him an injection of anesthetic to be able to towed the dog to the van. Witnesses who watched “bothered“ the dogcatcher by watching what they were doing, so dogcatcher Marković cursed and insulted one of the fosters Emilija Barišić, an elder woman dressed in mourning clothes.
On the 16th of March 2012 the foster Nada Prokić came to the site to be witness of the way of catching the dogs previously gotten permission from the guard at the entrance to enter. The dogcatchers had just towed a long time ago neutered bitch named Ema. Seeing Nada Prokić, they immediately stopped working and all of them were silent except the dogcatcher Marković. The dogcatcher Marković addressed rudely the foster Prokić yelling at her “what she’s doing there“, and then he phoned a superior in Veterinary Belgrade.
The superior instructed dogcatcher Marković to call police, which dogcatcher Marković did several times in a row, i.e. until police patrol came on the spot. Dogcatcher Marković intercepted police officers at the entrance of the site and explained the officer that Nada Prokić “hindered them in their work“.
Another witness, foster Veselinović joined Nada Prokić trying to talk to the officer. Having entered the site officer Trajković, badge number 10 56 92, asked identity documents of both fosters and requested them to leave someone else’s property, because they “failed to indicate their arrival and they hindered the people who work“.
Nada Prokić told officer Trajkoviću that she had entered the site with the permission of the site guard, in order to be a witness – observer of the dogcatchers’ work, i.e. inhuman catching of animals that violate Animal Well-being Law, Veterinary Medicine Law, European Convention, as well as Veterinary Belgrade Regulation on Manner of Catching Animals.
For the above reasons, Nada Prokić refused to leave the site. The policeman grabbed her roughly by the arm, dragged her from the site and pushed her into a police car. Then the dogcatchers continued their action. Nada Prokić spent entire morning at the police station. A policeman who was standing right next to her; she neither could go to toilet nor to drink water.
To make the picture of what happened more complete it should be stated that Nada Prokić is a retired doctor and professor at Medicine Faculty of Belgrade University, a small and frail woman. Foster Veselinović is also Belgrade University professor at the Faculty of Mining and Geology.
On the 17th of March 2012 Deputy City Secretary for Utilities and Housing Services, Department Zoo hygiene, Vladimir Terzin answered by phone to a foster who complained of the cruelty with which the dogcatchers treat the dogs during catching them, hurting them with hooks, poles, rods…:
“If it is needed we will roll over even a shack!“
The dogcatchers stopped the hunt on the 21st and 22nd of March, and then they went on with pursuit of the dogs. Veterinary Inspection of Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Water and Forestry responsible for supervising the implementation of the Animal Well-being Law as well as Veterinary Administration did not respond to any of many reports of violation of the Law by Veterinary Belgrade.