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by Alexandra Yurkiw & Marijo Anne Gillis Wednesday, Apr. 20, 2005 at 4:10 PM

Serbian Abuses of Animals

During the past several weeks we have been contacted by countless Serbians concerned about the startling escalation of blatant animal abuse in their country. Due to widespread corruption and a "fear factor" regarding retribution that still exists in Serbia, these individuals requested that we tell their story while keeping their identities secret. Following, are facts and observations recounted by Serbian citizens to the writers of this article.

Ever since the end of the war, Serbia has been inundated with abandoned street animals, the majority of whom are brutally murdered. Like so many other places in the world, most citizens and civil authorities are not educated in humane animal issues and furthermore, do not care. Sterilization (spay/neuter) is not widely practiced. The animal welfare laws that do exist are not enforced and improving animal welfare is not a priority of Serbian government officials.

While it is understandable that the country is still in transition due to its history of war, Serbian citizens reporting the injustices to us, rumor that ample documentation exists detailing rampant corruption not only among Serbian authorities but even within some of the non governmental organizations (NGOs) purportedly engaged in animal welfare. Thankfully, a small minority of compassionate people are working diligently to bring about positive change for both companion and farmed animals. Obviously and sadly, they cannot do it alone.

Ten years have passed since Serbian hostilities were laid to rest It is absurd and unacceptable to use the war as an excuse for abuse, neglect, indifference and inaction. Yet, torturing, poisoning and brutally killing dogs and cats is still occurring without punishment for the perpetrators of these vicious animal related crimes. The "Serbian scene" is of growing concern to civilized people everywhere. Serbian animal welfare advocates have witnessed brutal trapping methods, the ruthless beatings of dogs to death and poisonings, resulting in agonizing deaths. Hunters wantonly shoot abandoned companion animals for sport.

Our sources estimate that the city of Belgrade savagely destroys about six thousand dogs annually. The city "fathers" hire the ”professional pest" control firm EKOSAN to exterminate the unwanted animals--innocent victims of human animal cruelty. The government claims that humane practices are exercised yet documentation and verbal reports from animal workers details graphic images of dogs in Belgrade’s “OVCA” dog kill shelter being viciously destroyed. So much for official Serbian credibility

Other Serbian observers report that many of the so called humane societies work in "close" relationship with authorities who advocate destroying the stray animals. Witnesses have observed dogs and cats being destroyed using brutal methods by "dog catchers" to round up the animals. "Workers" at kill shelters lack training in humane animal care and control and legal issues pertaining to animal rights. Witnesses have observed dogs and cats being destroyed using brutal methods within these same "shelters". There are also reports of the "disappearances" of sterilization and euthanasia equipment. Furthermore, documentation is available showing dead dogs, skinned and heaped together -- the victims of a mass execution. All this, in a Belgrade shelter! Is this what the Serbian hierarchy terms humane euthanasia?

Equally as sad and reprehensible is the Belgrade zoo, one of the oldest zoos in Europe. Housing approximately two thousand animals, the zoo has acquired a notorious reputation due to the unacceptable treatment of the animals in their "care". The zoo director has close ties to the Serbian hunting lobby as well as Belgrade’s city hall. Documentation is available from Serbian animal welfare advocates showing these animals confined within squalid living conditions and consequently ill and distressed. Many of these animals exhibit abnormal behavior, such as bar biting, over-grooming, self mutilation, head bashing, circling, leg chewing, etc. Furthermore, many animals that were born in the zoo throughout the years have disappeared. The zoo claimed that new tigers, bears and a hippo were born recently but the animals appear to have vanished.


Album: abandoned animals horror story- Serbia

Album: Hell Zoo – Belgrade

The Gallery

Written by:

Alexandra Yurkiw


Marijo Anne Gillis - Founder

Welfare for Animals in Greece

Welfare for Animals Global, Inc.

(a New York non-profit advocacy & political lobby group)

Tel. (212) 427-0587 Fax (212) 427-6381


"Compassion for all life - the way to a better world"


Please copy and paste the letter which follows to the list of authorities found below ( which you can also copy and paste) and blind copy me at

Dear Sir:

The brutal treatment of companion, farmed and zoo animals in Serbia is coming to the attention of the world. We are horrified to witness man's lack of compassion, indiscriminate cruelty and the Serbian government's indifference and inaction regarding the criminal treatment of Serbian animals.

This negative publicity will surely reverberate throughout the world and result in sanctions from civilized governments and concernedcitizens who are able to travel and spend tourist dollars. Surely, the Serbian gross national product depends in part on the influx of money from neighboring nations.

We respectfully and urgently request that you take notice and action of this reprehensible situation which is fast resulting inthe deterioration of Serbian status within the global family.

Put a stop tothe brutal, vicious killing of domesticated street animals by government officials, civil workers and ordinary citizens. Please request the aid of international animal welfare organizations who are adept at planning and implementing humane welfare programs. Implement a spay / neuter program throughout the country and attempt to initiate humane education programs in the school system. Request assistance in the design of coherent and straightforward animal protection legislation. Once in place, and so important, implement and enforce that legislation and initiate prosecution and punishment for perpetrators of animal related crimes. If need be, until Serbia is capable of tending properly to her zoo population, extend an invitation to experts in the proper and humane care and management of confined species.

Please enter this new millennium and posture with compassion and a civilized stance regarding animal welfare.

Name and contact info.

Please send letters to:

Office of Prime Minister VOJISLAV KOSTUNICA

Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management

Serbian Minister of Science and Environmental Protection

Embassy of Serbia and Montenegro


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