Abandoned Animals: An urban problem that unites activists

Category: Blog
Organizations: CBM

"Divided city" is often, in public, a synonym for Mitrovica. If we take this synonym for granted, we will also say that the challenges citizens face on the south and north side of the Ibar river are different. However, that is not the case. North and South Mitrovica have shared the problem of abandoned animals on the streets for years now. How did this "problem" unite two activists, old citizens of Mitrovica and, above all, animal lovers? Vesna Generalović and Ismet Rukeci, aka Dok, shared their stories within the "Storytelling" evening organized by the Community Building Mitrovica (CBM).

Answering the question of whether they asked the representatives of the municipality for help with the issue of helping abandoned animals, Vesna answered:

"Dogs on the streets are a complex problem throughout the Balkans, not just in Kosovo. The Balkans are one big animal shelter. Abandoned animals are in deplorable condition. Apart from the fact that they are hungry and thirsty, you also know that poisonings and killings of animals happen. We have an increase in the cases of abandoned animals harassment, and we have no solution. The number is constantly growing. As an individual, you can't solve the problem or have some influence over the municipality. It is necessary to involve more people - representatives of the association, veterinary inspection, and animal lovers. "

That is precisely what Vesna and Ismet are trying to do. Ismet takes care of and feeds more than 60 abandoned dogs on the streets of South Mitrovica, while Vesna does so in the North.

"The only veterinarian in North Mitrovica is already retired and can no longer provide adequate care for animals when cases are more complicated, such as operations. The veterinarian on the south side is closest to us, and we cooperate with him when something is urgent. Most of us don't have a car, and we need to transport the animals to the veterinary clinic on the south side. That's how the cooperation with Dok started, "said Vesna:

"He has a car, and he is free 24 hours a day for any dog in need. He leaves whatever he does at that moment – 'Dok come, we need transportation… Dok go there, pick up the dog, bring him back here ...'"

The cooperation is mutual, so "if a dog from the south needs help, and we (from the north, for example) have anti-parasite pills with us, we say: Dok come and take it," Vesna explains.

"For me, it's not a job. It's love. Everything about animals, " Ismet (Dok) added.

That love for animals is the mover for them, and it seems incredible to the ordinary listener.

"My love for dogs is heartfelt. I try my best to help them, and I use everything I earn to take care of the dogs and feed them. Sometimes I don't even have the money for the coffee because I spent all the money for dogs, "says Ismet, who has been caring for abandoned animals for 35 years.

He tries to do it imperceptibly, in the early morning hours:

"So that no one would mind what I do."

The struggle for the "right thing" has bridged the differences, which are, in fact, few.

"People who do something beautiful do not think about nationality and what language they speak. They have one great and pure goal - to help someone. In this case, the animals. We are not involved in politics. We all likely have some views regarding politics, parties, municipal problems, but when it comes to this - we are all one, "Vesna explained.

"People slowly began to understand our work and goal and began to give their contributions," Ismet added.

In the end, Vesna had a message for all who live in Mitrovica and for whom abandoned dogs are "permanent passers-by":

"Abandoned animals should not be mistreated, killed, but a solution should be found humanely - both for the North and for the south. We should all work to raise awareness that animals on the street are part of our society and that humans are the only ones to blame for their abandonment. "