Who are we and what we do

Thanks for taking the time to find out more about us and the work we do saving – and changing – the lives of stray dogs and cats in Serbia. As there’s so much we’d like to share with you, we’ve provided the links below to make it easy for you to jump to the information you’re interested in.

 

ABOUT US

 

HumAnimal BALKANS is a non-profit organisation for the protection of animals registered in Belgrade, Serbia with a representative in Milan, Italy.
Our organisation was founded in 2011 by a union of volunteers from Balkan countries who were trying to save stray cats and dogs that were (and still are) caught en masse, interned in kill stations (death pounds) and euthanized.

OUR MOTTO 

 

“Saving one dog will not change the world, but for that one dog the world will be forever changed”

OUR MISSION

  1. We save dogs from kill shelters;
  2. We rescue animals from the streets who are in seriously poor health or immediate and obvious danger. These include entire litters of puppies abandoned in garbage, injured animals, and abused and malnourished animals, victims of floods and other natural disasters. For example, we helped save 87 dogs who were flood victims in 2014 in a disaster widely reported in the international media.
  3. We legally challenge abuse in shelters managed by local authorities who do not respect the law. As you can imagine, this aspect is expensive but very necessary to put a check on the terrible and routine mismanagement in the kill pounds against all existing regulations even within the limited standards of Serbian law.

It’s important to realise that the animals we rescue are only a tiny fraction of all the animals that need saving. We are limited by the number of volunteers we have inside Serbia working with us and the funds we can raise to maintain our rescue and rehabilitation work. Far too many animals are left to die of starvation or by sub-standard administration of lethal injections that cause them to die a slow, agonising death. It is essential to start more initiatives to really start dealing with the scope of the problem.

OUR GOALS

 

We aim to:

  • increase public awareness of legal action to create stronger animal protection laws and to properly implement existing national laws that are being cynically circumvented by national governments in some countries, including Serbia.
  • raise awareness and strive to bring the seriousness of the problem to the attention of the public in Europe (and of course locally) in order to raise support for rescuing the animals out of Serbia and bringing them to safe lives in Europe. Our view is that refugees are not only two-legged but also four-legged, and the four-legged ones come with no agendas: every saved dog repays society back with all its capacity if it is appreciated as a sentient being. They have a right to be saved, not destroyed or neglected, and are precious to us all. Serbia’s homeless dogs can, and should, be all our concern, and not hived off as a national problem of no concern to Europeans, just as Europe’s homeless dogs should also not be isolated by national strategies for animal control, instead of being supervised actively by the EU’s commitments (in principle) as manifested in the Lisbon Treaty. These animals, wherever they are in Europe, including Serbia, are morally and practically our concern. Therefore, if we cannot find the solutions within Serbia, we look for help from the rest of Europe until one day the problem within Serbia has been satisfactorily minimized.
  •  bring the plight not only of the dogs we have managed to rescue but of the many more we have not, to the attention of the compassionate public in order to win hearts and minds to our cause. In doing so we can save more lives, lives that would otherwise be cruelly and prematurely snuffed out.

OUR INITIATIVES AND KEY MILESTONES

  • We have helped to bring the truth about the death camps for dogs in Balkan countries to the attention of the wider public in Serbia and in Europe via our Facebook page
  • We have started a campaign to close the infamous concentration camp-style kill shelter in Pozega, grimly and ironically named ‘Nas Dom’ (Our House) and presented a detailed petition with evidence of malpractice and abuse to the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary Department. We have denounced the kill shelter to the local court, but the complaint is still “pending” (awaiting assessment) by the Court because we do not have the funds for a legal representative/lawyer to move it on. Seven municipal administrations in Serbia co-operate to round up homeless dogs and transport them to ‘Nas Dom’, where they are terminated. While euthanasia remains allowed under the law, the manner in which the dogs are captured, held and finally killed break all the clauses of the law of animal protection in Serbia and all principles of care for animals as sentient beings recognised in any civilised country. THIS ACTIVITY IS TOTALLY ILLEGAL AND YET IT IS BEING CONDUCTED BY MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS IN COMPLETE DISREGARD OF NATIONAL LAW.
  • Together with some other organizations for animal welfare, we successfully closed a concentration camp-style kill shelter in Stara Pazova, Serbia, with a complaint to the Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary Department.
    We have written to various MEPs of the European Parliament, among them the Honorable Andrea Zanoni, regarding the dire situation in the kill shelters in Serbia, Bosnia and other Balkan countries. The response of an MEP of the European Parliament can be found in the Annex.
    With the help of Italy’s ENPA (Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali), the oldest and most prestigious Italian animal protection NGO, we captured the attention of Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Franco Frattini who presented the issues regarding the Pozega ‘Nas Dom’ death camp kill shelter to the Serbian government thereby making it one of the first formal declaration(s) on animal issues from a European member state to the Government of Serbia.
  • To date we have saved around 400 dogs from various kill shelters: we have cared for, fed, vaccinated and had them responsibly adopted in Italy, England and Serbia.
    We have sterilised 450 animals so far (including dogs and cats). When you consider that each animal is capable of having multiple litters, and that each litter typically contains multiple puppies or kittens who then go on to breed (creating a never ending cycle of reproduction), we have prevented thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals from being born into a miserable existence.
  • We have started a campaign to close the infamous concentration camp-style kill shelter in Pozega, grimly and ironically named ‘Nas Dom’ (Our House) and presented a detailed petition with evidence of malpractice and abuse to the Serbian Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinary Department. We have denounced the kill shelter to the local court, but the complaint is still “pending” (awaiting assessment) by the Court because we do not have the funds for a legal representative/lawyer to move it on. Seven municipal administrations in Serbia co-operate to round up homeless dogs and transport them to ‘Nas Dom’, where they are terminated. While euthanasia remains allowed under the law, the manner in which the dogs are captured, held and finally killed break all the clauses of the law of animal protection in Serbia and all principles of care for animals as sentient beings recognised in any civilised country. THIS ACTIVITY IS TOTALLY ILLEGAL AND YET IT IS BEING CONDUCTED BY MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS IN COMPLETE DISREGARD OF NATIONAL LAW.
  • Together with some other organizations for animal wellfare, we successfully closed a concentration camp-style kill shelter in Stara Pazova, Serbia, with a complaint to the Ministry of Agriculture, Veterinarian Department.
  • We have written to various MEPs of the European Parliament, among them the Honorable Andrea Zanoni, regarding the dire situation in the kill shelters in Serbia, Bosnia and other Balkan countries. The response of an MEP of the European Parliament can be found in the Annex.
  • With the help of Italy’s ENPA (Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali), the oldest and most prestigious Italian animal protection NGO, we captured the attention of Italy’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Franco Frattini who presented the issues regarding the Pozega ‘Nas Dom’ death camp kill shelter to the Serbian Government thereby making it one of the first formal declaration(s) on animal issues from a European member state to the Government of Serbia.
  • To date we have saved around 400 dogs from various kill shelters; we have cared for, fed, vaccinated and had them responsibly adopted in Italy, England and Serbia.
  • We have sterilised 450 animals so far (including dogs and cats). When you consider that each animal is capable of having multiple litters, and that each litter typically contains multiple puppies or kittens, who then go on to breed themselves (creating a never ending cycle of reproduction), we have prevented thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of unwanted animals from being born into a miserable existence.

OUR VOLUNTEERS

 

Our volunteers are people on the ground in Serbia who, apart from the practical difficulties of getting dogs released from kill shelters, have to make the difficult choice of which animals to save from euthanasia in those shelters. They have to be very strong emotionally as well as dedicated to rescue to cope with this terrible process of selection. Potential sponsors may choose certain dogs from the photos we provide and they will be selected, but otherwise the volunteers have to make this awful decision themselves. We must remember how unnecessary this is since euthanasia is actually illegal but, like many laws in Serbia, is unenforced or even unenforceable.
A typical profile of one of our volunteers is someone who has been vegetarian or vegan, or has been a long-time activist in the cause of protection and welfare of animals, or someone who is generally sensitive to issues of injustice. They work on an unpaid basis and come from a wide variety of backgrounds including professionals, pensioners and students.

During emergencies such as the floods that hit the Balkans in 2014, our volunteers were on the ground for two, perhaps three weeks in a row, 12 hours a day, sometimes risking their own lives.

THE PROBLEMS WE FACE

 

Unfortunately, within Serbia and the Balkan countries, for social and cultural reasons, it is very difficult to find people willing to adopt the dogs we rescue or to support our work with donations to cover the costs associated with rescue, recovery and rehabilitation (such as veterinarians, kennelling, transport, sterilisations, etc.).
At first we tried to raise funds locally but with little success. We realised that we had to create a non-profit organisation in order to bring international attention to what happens to animals in these countries, especially stray dogs, and to change their fate.
Obviously, in large territories such as Serbia, Bosnia, Croatia, and other ex-Yugoslav countries, the slaughter of homeless dogs can be counted in tens of thousands a year. Our volunteers can only scrape the tip of the iceberg. We’ve managed to save a few hundred dogs so far, but scores of thousands are murdered and tortured every year. Our work needs to be greatly expanded as at present we are only able to save the most vulnerable animals, leaving the others to their fate.
This process of selection is itself heartbreaking for our volunteers! In the kill shelters run by the government, we try to take photo evidence of the captured dogs, even though sometimes we are legally obstructed, and we post the photos on our website and our Facebook pages, so that potential adopters might see them and want to save a life. The only animals that are safe are those who are lucky enough to have sponsors willing to pay the release fees demanded by the kill shelters and who will donate for virtual adoptions. This enables us to kennel and care for the dogs until physical adopters are found who will guarantee them a caring “forever home”. Our adopters are often in countries hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away, mostly Italy and the UK. Release, rescue, veterinary and kennelling costs are our routine costs on an ongoing basis until dogs get adopted.
We cannot stress too strongly how severe the need is of the dogs we rescue and that countless thousands remain on the streets, beyond our capacities to rescue them, trying to stay alive and living on their luck as lost generations of sentient beings in an uncaring world.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

 

Please consider making a donation, sponsoring one of our dogs until their forever home is found, or perhaps you have the forever home waiting to be filled by a furry friend? Adopting a dog frees up space for another dog to be rescued, so you get to change two lives for the better, not just one.

Donate

Sponsor a dog

foster-a-dog-1

Adopt a dog

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OUR SANCTUARY

We are one of the only rescues in the Balkans to have distinctly separate areas for each activity in kennels. We have several areas. We have our four enclosures where dogs are free to roam all day with the secure, high fence to keep them safe. There’s a much larger section for the kennels themselves and the area around the kennels that is used for walks.

Our dogs are allowed out to run all day, everyday. All get walked individually and together and so get lots of one-to-one time and socialization. Grounds maintenance is a daily affair on the sanctuary and is imperative to the well-being and safety of the dogs in our care.

This is how every kennel should be. This is the standard we set.

Freedom, not locked up in boxed kennels all day. A dog free to run, socialize and play is a happy dog. This is the standard we set at Humanimal.

We often take abandoned puppies and dogs from public pounds and so have to keep them in isolation until they are healthy and fully vaccinated. Since we currently only have one quarantine area, we use paid fosters and pensions to care for them when we don’t have enough room. The generosity of people like you is the reason we can continue this life-saving work, rehabilitating abandoned or abused animals and taking care of them until they find their forever home.

Copyright HumAnimal 2016

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