In Trebinje, Herzegovina, street dogs are treated with almost medieval cruelty. Those unlucky enough to be born in this Balkan town are pursued from birth by a dog catcher. If they are caught, they are tossed into a trailer, taken to the town’s rubbish dump and held prisoner there until they die!
The dogs live covered in flies, in open cages or fenced areas, with no protection from the scorching heat in summer or sub-zero temperatures in winter. Living conditions are so bad that between 70 percent and 90 percent of puppies brought there die almost immediately.
Street dogs have no value in Trebinje. Regulations say the town’s rubbish department oversees them and as such, the department dumps them with the garbage. On the town’s rubbish dump, the dogs don’t live long, and their short lives are marred by suffering and agony.
The dogs are infested with flies and live amid a vomit-inducing stench!
Rarely, have we seen such ghastly conditions for dogs. Tens of thousands of flies from the dump swarm around the 70 dogs living there, infesting their eyes and transmitting horrible diseases. When our team visited, the air was so thick with flies that our heads and skin were covered in them wherever we walked. The dogs have no protection from the tormenting insects, and the stench from the rubbish dump was so nauseating that it was almost unbearable. And this is where these poor animals, considered rubbish by the authorities, are forced to live, day in and day out.
The dogs seldom, if ever, get exercised, and there is little chance of them finding homes because the stench is so bad that people avoid the dump. We were only there a few hours, but the dogs live with this stomach-churning horror 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.
In this putrid environment, death is an everyday occurrence. Diseases spread from other dogs, or the dogs get sick from eating rubbish that blows into the enclosures. Or most heartbreaking of all, they simply give up and let the flies torment them until they die.
Up to 90 percent of puppies taken to the rubbish dump die almost immediately!
The town admits that up to 90 percent of puppies taken there die, but the real figure could be closer to 100 percent. And there are always puppies being dumped there because the town has no spay and neuter program. Only ‘problem’ dogs are sterilized - the rest are left to breed, and their puppies are doomed to die.
There’s always one dog who tugs extra hard at your heartstrings when you visit any municipal pound. We found a poor creature so sick from leishmaniasis - a disease transmitted by flies - that all her fur had fallen out. She had only three legs, and she was so weak, she couldn’t stand. All she had ever known of humans is that they put her in hell, yet she wagged her tail when we came close!
We took one look at this horrific situation and knew that we had to ask for your help to end this as fast as possible. We must create a safe haven for the dogs, somewhere far from flies and disease. We are already in negotiations with the town authorities to move them.
The town authorities do not intentionally set out to be cruel - this is just the way it has always been ever since Herzegovina was part of communist Yugoslavia. When Yugoslavia collapsed, war broke out, and animals were not a priority. Only now are things changing.
We met with Spasoje Radovic, newly-appointed head of inspections for the municipality, and he is as shocked as we are by the conditions the dogs live in at the dump. However, he frankly admits that he needs the help of Network for Animals to change the situation.
There is only one thing to do in a situation this bad: we must ask you to help us create a real shelter. Together, we can end this crisis where dogs live in hell, tormented by flies and disease, and help them live a better life.
Spasoje says the municipality will provide land for a modern shelter if we help design and build it. We have promised to do our best and have already got our team working on designs and costing the construction.
The dogs deserve better than this putrid hell of tormenting flies and sickness!
If you could see what things are like for the dogs of Trebinje, we know you would want to help. Each donation is a step towards getting the dogs out of a fetid hell of tormenting flies and constant sickness. To the dogs, almost any improvement will seem like heaven, because what they have now is a short life and a nasty end.
With your help, we will create a proper shelter that is comfortable for the dogs until that happy day comes when they find forever homes.
We will also tackle the horrifying mortality rate among puppies. We know the cause - we know the treatment. Please help us supply the cure. Donate right now if you possibly can.
For the animals,
Brian and Gloria Davies (and Max and Flora!)
Network for Animals
P.S. This is one of those rare occasions where we can act now and quickly end a pattern of suffering that has been in place for generations. Your donation will bring hope to the dogs and a promise that an end to their torment is in sight. Please donate generously if you possibly can.