It has been nearly four years since Bosnia passed a law banning the killing of stray and wild dogs, but as of this year only one city is respecting it, according to the Associated Press — Sarajevo.
As a result, Sarajevo has become both a dumping ground and, relatively speaking, a safe haven, with people from around the country dropping homeless, stray and wild dogs on its streets.
The law was passed amid a sharp rise in dog killings, but it was largely ignored because the government provided few alternatives, like shelters and sterilization clinics.
In March, Sarajevo became home to a new city-funded dog shelter that also performs sterilizations.
Animal protection advocate Amela Turalic runs the shelter, and she and her team of animal lovers respond to calls to pick up strays, who have been increasingly arriving from other areas
Bosnia remains divided along ethnic lines, and different parts of the country deal with strays differently. Despite the national ban against slaughtering dogs, some local governments have passed laws contradicting it.
In Sarajevo, it took Turalic’s teams three months to get the problem of strays under control last summer with the shelter and sterilizations.
“But then we started noticing ‘new faces’ on the streets daily and people started telling us about overnight deliveries,” she said.
Not everyone in Sarajevo is happy about that, and some don’t think Sarajevo — the one place doing something about the problem — should be getting overwhelmed with needy dogs because of it.
Sounds a little like another country that once welcomed outsiders.
As Turalic sees it, those from other cities who drop off dogs on the streets of Sarajevo aren’t abandoning their own pets, just trying to give a stray a better chance of surviving.
“Let them come,” she said. “People do this with best intentions.”
(Photo: Amel Emric / Associated Press)
Posted by jwoestendiek December 7th, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: Amela Turalic, animal control, animals, bosnia, dogs, dropped, haven, neuter, pets, safe haven, sarajevo, shelter, spay, sterilization, stray, streets, wild
Yesterday, as can happen in life, I took a wrong turn on the way to Utopia, ending up instead on a dead end dirt road.
So I turned around, drove back through my own dust, took a different road and finally spotted the driveway I was looking for — the one into Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, founded by mystery novelist, musician, social commentator, humorist, columnist, guru, gubernatorial candidate, good old boy, singer, songwriter and purveyor of both cigars and salsa, Kinky Friedman.
The prolific Texas author — with more than 30 books to his name — funded the rescue organization when it started up 12 years ago in Utopia, Texas; then he offered a good-sized hunk of his family ranch in Medina, Texas, allowing the rescue to relocate and expand three years later.
The shelter’s day-to-day operation falls to Nancy Parker-Simons and her husband, Tony Simons, who, with help from volunteers tend to the 47 (as of yesterday) dogs under their care until permanent homes can be found.
That doesn’t always happen quickly, as the case of Mr. Happy attests. He’s been at the shelter all 12 years since it opened. “He just always seems to get overlooked,” Parker-Simons said.
Among the other residents, some of whom Parker-Simons has taken to naming after celebrities, are Bob Dylan (that’s him to the left), Ben Stiller and Mister Rogers, who spent years as a stray on the streets of Kansas City.
All now spend their days in large and shaded fenced lots, enjoying walks with volunteers, dips in the swimming hole in the summer, and homemade garlic and cheese quesadillas in the winter. Garlic seems to relieve their stress, Parker-Simons says.
She says Friedman has been rescuing strays for most of his life — and people, too, she says, counting herself among them. After she became the unofficial caretaker of some strays Friedman had found — not to mention babysitter to his dog Mr. Magoo — they decided to make it an official rescue organization.
The no-kill shelter gives dogs another chance at life, she said. “The way our world treats dogs, sometimes I feel so sorry for them. People just dispose of them.” That casual attitude caused her to fly off the handle once, she said. She’d gotten a lot of calls from women, surrendering their dogs because their boyfriends didn’t want them around.
“Finally I got fed up hearing that,” she said, and suggested to one woman that any man who demanded something like that wasn’t worth keeping around, ’Why don’t you euthanize him,” she told her, “because the guy doesn’t have a clue about love.”
Utopia is slightly picky about who they let adopt dogs, wanting to make sure they are destined for good homes. “I think most of the dogs are living in better homes than we are,” she said.
Even Friedman — tune in tomorrow for our visit with him — lives in an unassuming cabin, which served as the lodge for the summer camp, still operating, that his parents started for Jewish children.
The undulating Hill Country of Texas made a perfect spot for that — just as it makes a perfect spot for dogs. While waiting for adoptive homes, the dogs enjoy acres upon acres of land, and an inviting looking swimming hole.
While Utopia houses primarily dogs, it has also taken in horses and some other animals, including wild hogs, two of which were adopted by bed and breakfasts, not to serve as breakfast, but to serve as mascots.
Among the friends of Friedman that have helped support the rescue are Dwight Yoakum, former Gov. Ann Richards and Willie Nelson.
‘”Every dream has to start somewhere. This may not be the slickest operation, but these dogs are all loved and cared for,” Friedman told the Austin American-Statesman back in 1998.
More recently Friedman has donated all proceeds from the sale of his new Kinky Friedman’s Private Stock Salsa line to the rescue organization.
Parker-Simons has written two books about life at Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch. You can find more information about them and about the ranch on her blog.
To read all the installments of “Dog’s Country,” from the beginning, click here.
Posted by jwoestendiek June 15th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: ace does america, adopt, adoption, animal welfare, bandera, dog's country, dogs, dogscountry, haven, kerrville, kinky friedman, medina, nancy parker-simons, rescue, road trip, sanctuary, shelter, texas, travel, utopia, utopia ranch animal rescue