05 November, 2012


Stop the passive killing of strays in Belgrade!

Back to the CNR-programme!

With our signature we protest against the city of Belgrade’s unscrupulous handling of strays!
According to the constitutional court as well as to the Protection of Animals Act in force the killing of strays has been forbidden in Belgrade (Serbia) since 2009!

Thus the city of Belgrade continuously practised in an exemplary way the worldwide respected strategy of ‚Catch-Neuter-Release‘ (CNR) for a couple of years, had strays neutered, microchipped and vaccinated and finally released them in their original habitat.
But recently the local animal welfare suffered a tragic U-turn:

From September 2011 onwards, all of the strays which were neutered and chipped (and thus also registrated) over the last years were caught by the score by municipal dog catchers and brought to the completely overcrowded municipal shelters.

Private people as well as organisations having registrated animals on their names do now have to pay high ‚service fees‘ in order to get their animals out of these shelters.

In the past, many animal rights groups had animals registrated on the name of their organisations in order to protect them and to make clear that they are permanently taken care of. According to the CNR-strategy the dogs were left in their old habitats. Now the city of Belgrade tries to declare these strays as “dogs having an owner”! Having the animals registrated earlier on shall be the animal rights groups’ doom now.

The ‚service fee‘ being due after the dogs were caught is anything but justified and accumulates to horrendous amounts in no time (catching a dog by „Veterina Beograd“ amounts to a lump sum of € 55 for each animal + „lump sum for shelter accommodation” amounting to about € 4,60 for each animal per day). Thus we are talking of enormous amounts of money which neither private persons nor animal rights groups may afford because the monthly average income in Serbia totals € 300!

In case that someone pays the ‘service fee’ and brings the dog back to its original habitat (thus following the CNR-strategy propagated by the city of Belgrade for years) the dog will soon be caught again and the „owner“ will have to pay the ‘service fee’ anew.

And things are even getting worse:

The responsible authorities try to impute to the animal rights groups that they practise a kind of „irresponsible keeping of animals“ – although these animals never had a home in the classic sense!

Serbian courts will soon have to decide whether the „irresponsible owners of animals“ will additionally be threatened with a legal procedure: The administrative penalty shall amount up to € 500 for private persons and up to € 8.700 (one million dinar!) for animal rights groups. This has to be prevented!
In the meantime, the municipal shelters are completely overcrowded. Dogs are penned up at random, many of them bite each other to death. Neutered and unneutered dogs, males and females, all of them are kept together, and intact animals of course reproduce themselves. Epidemics by canine parvovirosis and distemper are carrying many dogs off. The dogs contaminate each other rapidly within this small space and subsequently perish painfully.

Although the city of Belgrade has no longer killed the dogs directly it nevertheless causes the painful death of thousands of animals in the municipal shelters! Thus the city of Belgrade acts completely contrary to the regulations of its own and officially presented “strategy for straying dogs and cats”!

Back in the eighties already, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended the CNR-strategy in order to reduce the population of strays. ‘Catch-Neuter-Release’ is the only efficient and animal friendly method to battle against the misery of strays all over Europe.

How may the CNR-strategy (which was also preached by the city of Belgrade for some years and is, of course, supported by all of the animal rights activists) work now if the strays cannot be brought back into their former habitats (“release”)?

We, the signatories, ask the city of Belgrade and all persons in charge to immediately stop the meaningless catching and arresting of strays in municipal shelters!

Already now the situation in the cram-full shelters claims the lives of thousands of dogs! Furthermore, we ask for a prompt return to the CNR-programme: The dogs have to be released in exactly those places where they were caught!

This is the only way to permanently and effectively solve the problem of strays in an animal friendly way!

This petition is directed to the following persons and institutions:

Dragan Dilas - Mayor of the city of Belgrade
The President of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic
Mladan Dinkic - Minister of finance
Nikola Selakovic - Minister of justice
Predrag Petrovic – Secretary of the municipal Secretariat for Utilities and Housing Services
Dr. Terzin – Deputy Secretary, responsible person for the realisation of the „strategy for straying dogs and cats“