Last week a video shot with someone’s cell phone caught Serbian dog catchers brutally choking to death a stray dog they had captured on the street.
For the thousands of homeless dogs and cats in the Republic of Serbia brutal treatment and tortuous deaths are how their short lives play-out, as the government struggles to control animal overpopulation.
Animal Friends of Croatia reported that over the past few weeks “countless Serbians concerned about the startling escalation of blatant animal abuse in their country,” have contacted their organization to spread the word about the atrocities they see happening every day to abandoned animals.
The information for this story was shared to me by a Care2 member who has also seen this abuse.
How Did The Problem Get This Bad?
Serbia has several laws on the books to protect those who are cruel to animals. They also require each community to sterilize, give medical care and food to stray animals.
But since the war ended ten years ago, the country has been overwhelmed with abandoned cats and dogs that live on the streets and reproduce at alarming rates.
Towns don’t have shelters big enough to handle the large number of homeless animals, workers are uneduated about humanely treating animals and the country never implemented a sterilization plan to stop the birth of new puppies and kittens.
The problem has now grown so bad that many people and communities have become indifferent to the suffering of the cats and dogs.
Their goal is to just get them off the streets, by any means possible.
In some cities like Belgrade, “professional pest control companies” have been hired to capture street animals and dispose of them. These dog catching teams, called the Shinter are untrained about how to humanely trap, house and compassionately euthanize homeless animals.
The Daily Brutality
Witnesses report that the Shinter often confine cats and dogs to cages without any food or water for several days at shelters before killing them.
Their form of euthanasia includes cruel methods such as: clubbing, burying animals’ alive, sealing live cats and dogs in plastic bags, crushing and poisoning.
A small group of concerned citizens and animal welfare organizations are calling for the Serbian government to take action. Serbian Animals Voice is advocating for a plan similar to a Trap-Neuter-Return program.
They want to spay/neuter stray animals, put ID tags or ear marks on them, vaccinate them against disease and release the cats and dogs back into the neighborhood they came from.
The Alliance for Animal Rights is also asking the government to close current shelters and build humane animal shelters, have a registration system for owned animals, provide a humane education program for the public and enforce the penalties for animal abuse.
After ten years of talking about the humane treatment of street animals, please ask the government of Serbia to stop the killing and start acting on behalf of the welfare of stray cats and dogs.
CALL TO ACTION
CLICK HERE to sign the petition to stop killing dogs and cats in Serbia.
Creative Commons - Alex E. Proimos
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