We are extremely proud to tell you that Network for Animals has created a state-of-the-art dog shelter in the city of Trebinje in Herzegovina.
The $320 000 (£257, 000) shelter sets new high standards for the care of abandoned and street dogs in the Balkan nations. Network for Animals, working with the municipality of Trebinje, designed, constructed and equipped the shelter and contributes to its management costs.
It all started because of one desperately ill, desperately unhappy three-legged street dog called Ljupce. In 2021 Network for Animals visited the old municipal shelter which was situated on the city rubbish dump. The dogs lived in insanitary conditions and were covered in flies attracted by rotting garbage. There we met Ljupce, a picture of dejection who was seriously ill with a blood disease, so besieged by flies she had lost all her fur and was waiting to die. She was just one of 70 dogs, dumped with the rubbish all in bad condition.
We could not stand by and let this continue. Network for Animals works around the world fighting a heart breaking, never-ending battle to improve the lives of animals and this was a place where our help was sorely needed.
We went to work and 18 months later how things have changed. The rubbish dump shelter has been consigned to history. With the help of our supporters, we built a well-designed, well-equipped dog shelter on a new site in Trebinje. High standards of care and accommodation are provided, and dogs have space to play and run. Even better, because they are well looked after and happy, they have a far better chance of finding forever homes, which is, of course, the ideal outcome. For the dogs moving here from the old shelter it must seem like heaven.
One of the first to arrive was our old friend Ljupce, nursed back to life. Her fur has regrown, and she is lively and playful – a three-legged wonder.
This could not have been achieved without the whole-hearted cooperation of the Trebinje authorities. Many municipal shelters in the Balkans tightly restrict access to NGOs amid repeated reports of bad living conditions and animal cruelty. The municipality of Trebinje has turned its back on the past and is completely committed to transparency to the extent that NFA’s Balkan representative Fiona Sawney is part of the management committee. It our shared intention that Trebinje be an example for other municipalities to follow as the best approach to care for street dogs.
“All thanks to generous supporters who made this possible by donating to Network for Animals,” said David Barritt our executive director.
Network for Animals works in 26 countries and Barritt says that caring for street dogs is an issue in nearly all of them. “In the Balkans animal welfare laws are often flouted and animals are kept in shelters that are miserable, unhealthy and badly run,” he said. “The new Trebinje shelter shows that a very bad situation can quickly change if a spirit of cooperation can be found.
Credit: Trebinje Live
“The new shelter is a massive improvement, the next steps are an animal ambulance, additional vets and a spay and neuter program.”
We hope you will continue with us on the next step of the journey.