Horrific situation with homeless animals in Montenegro

It’s a sticky post. All newer posts go below this one.

I usually protect your feelings and don’t go into details about the difficulties that homeless cats face here in Montenegro. The situation, though, turned out to be more serious and much worse than I initially hoped. To keep quiet about it would mean to hide a very important truth.

I’ll understand if you opt not to read any further, as it’s a hard reading. I chose to write about it, because I tried many other options and they don’t work.

The general attitude towards homeless animals here is revolting. It’s one thing when they teach their kids to kick cats and spit or piss on them just for fun, calling it “a game”, it’s another when they intentionally kill them. I hoped for a long time that the poisoning of homeless animals was a myth which started from a couple of episodes in the past. Recently I learned it’s a current reality. One of the homeless cats I took care of was intentionally poisoned. They put the poison in the fish. I found both the dead cat and the poison, and it took me four hours of very intensive work to get anybody to at least remove the poison from the street.

Here’s the screenshot of the email that I sent to local newspapers. The email is about the events of that day when I found the cat. Only two newspapers published the story. The articles in Montenegrin language (warning: the articles contain the dead cat photos) are here and here.

No organisation at all wants to deal with such situations. They don’t even bother to remove the poison as fast as possible. It took me four hours to get them do this. Imagine how long it would have taken, if I hadn’t insisted on it.

The vet I talked to told me she regularly deals with the intentional poisoning of animals, but many poisoned animals are simply discarded by street cleaners.

Some citizens understand that the poisoning of animals is wrong, but there are many others who see no problem in it at all. The majority I talked to think the matter isn’t worth dealing with. And all of those people believe there’s nothing that can be done about it.

So, let’s look at the whole situation: there are no shelters for cats at all, the 3-4 shelters there are in the whole country are dog only, and they are in a horrible state with no normal funding and no tolerable conditions for the dogs; no authorities think it’s their responsibility to deal with the poisoning of animals; the majority of people do not try to change the situation.

What do I have left in the midst of this apathy, absurdity and lawlessness?

Well, I have just a wish left, and that’s the wish to inform you, and as much of the world as possible, about what’s going on here.

Nobody knows where Montenegro is? Well, it’s opposite Italy, across the sea, and it’s either Europe or wants to be Europe as it hopes to enter the EU. And homeless animals are poisoned there regularly.

Please, help me spread this information.

I’m also looking for any helpful links on the topic; blogs, organisations, articles, anything. If you have anything on your mind or any comment at all, please, leave it below the post or send them to my email sasha.zakharova@gmail.com

You can also share your thoughts about this situation on Igor Lukšić’s blog, who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro, and who also happens to blog on wordpress, or, at least, he’s registered on wordpress and blogged until the end of 2011. He’s a talented young politician who was born exactly here, in Bar, Montenegro, and maybe he knows what can be done about the horrific situation with homeless animals in Montenegro.

Thank you!

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11 Responses to Horrific situation with homeless animals in Montenegro

  1. sledpress says:

    Is there any chance that this organization could be of help to you? They seem to be effective at publicizing awful situations like this, and directing donations to the people who are wading in to help.

    • Alexandra says:

      Thanks so much! It’s very interesting, just what I was looking for.

      • sledpress says:

        Also, this organization is worth study. Many of the things they do would be harder to accomplish where you are, but they have been effective in persuading property owners and local governments that killing feral cats is not the best solution.
        Some of their best work lies in coaching cat advocates to present winning arguments to peple who don’t grasp the problem.

        Explore their site — they assemble convincing statistics and arguments to support their recommendations of Trap Neuter Return — trap the cats, fix them and give them shots, let them back into their environment, where they will control vermin (peple like to hear that) but will not reproduce or develop diseases that would be a problem to humans or domestic pets. Where I live — and I admit I live in a wealthy town that has had an animal shelter since I was small — they are changing the fate of ferals. The local shelter used to just pick them up, assume they were unadoptable and euthanize any but kittens who could be socialized. Now there is a date every month or so when people can bring cats they’ve trapped to the shelter, and they are taken en masse to a veterinary office to be inoculated and operated on (they use a “side spay” technique that makes if safe to release the female cats much sooner than if the surgery was done through the abdomen in the usual way). Whenever someone around here comes to me and says “well, this mother cat had kittens in my shed, what can I do” or a person wants to provide some kind of shelter for a cat who can’t or won’t be cared for indoors, I share this site with them.

        • Alexandra says:

          Thank you! I think I heard about them, but I’ll read the site for more details.

          As for talking with the public, the main problem is that they don’t reason when they don’t like cats, they just don’t like them. They hurt, because they want to hurt, because for them it’s fun. When I stop a large male from hitting a cat, he has no answer for the question “why”, he laughs it off, he does it because he wants to. They teach their kids the same thing. Kids kick the cats and when you stop them, they look up at you with pure eyes totally not understanding what the problem is, “they are just playing”. I saw many people squeak and run away when they saw cats. Many people came up to me, telling me to beware of cats, as cats are dangerous. I asked them how exactly, they answer “well, just like tigers are”.
          So, I understand what you mean and I can, I really can, talk to people, but only in cases when people have a reason, logic. Those people who hurt animals here, don’t have any reason or logic, they do it, because they want to, because they come from generations of people before who believed that this is the right way to treat animals.

          • Alexandra says:

            ps – the poison that killed that cat wasn’t even left where any animals live. No animals gather in that place. So, I mean the poisoner wasn’t fighting against any specific cats, he killed a random cat because he had a change to kill a random cat.

          • sledpress says:

            I know how hard it is to deal with that entrenched view point. I’ve never understood why people are at all afraid of cats — they don’t attack without warning like dogs do, they mostly run away from people. But some are still caught in the Middle Ages, I think — cats are the devil’s familiars? That isn’t the common thinking in the US any more, but I still see it now and then. The problem here is more one of people thinking that because shelter systems take the killing out of sight, everything is being handled right. And not enough people think that someone abusing an animal is a serious problem. I admit I despair of the human race sometimes.

            Once in a while, though, a person gets the chance to change the mind of someone who can make a policy. It’s a victory whenever a law becomes more strict or a judge actually imposes a sentence on someone who’s tormented or killed an animal.

  2. Heartbreaking when you meet with a wall of indifference from the authorities. As you’ve said, educating the people is the first step to improving the lives of stray animals and the authorities are where the buck stops there. Sadly have no connections in Montenegro 😦

  3. FeyGirl says:

    I’m so, so sorry about your country’s situation. Devastating doesn’t even begin to cover it…. But the two links provided above — Alley Cats and Harmony Fun — are EXCELLENT resources! Keep spreading the word; copy your blog into their web pages. Educate, educate, educate! Only then can help be brought in. Thanks so much for all you do to give a voice to those who so desperately need it, always.

  4. sledpress says:

    I saw this today and thought of you.


    A German group called TIERHILFE MONTENEGRO!!! (Animal Help In Montenegro)

    These are people whom you should look into if you have not already met them.

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