The Student Center in North Mitrovica forbids students from feeding dogs within the student housing complex; „Sapa“ condemns the move and calls for nurturing empathy among young people

Psi pas lutalice

A notice was recently posted on the entrance to student dormitories in North Mitrovica warning students that feeding „stray“ dogs on the grounds of the Student Center „Pristina“ is not allowed. They claim that this does not stem from dislike for animals, but rather concern about students’ health and possible infections.

The animal protection association „Sapa“ condemned student center’s new rules of conduct, saying that the notice provoked outrage among the students who volunteer for their association. They also claim that there is no risk of infection because the dogs in question have been properly vaccinated and treated.

A little more than a week ago, the Animal Protection Association „Sapa“ published a photo of a notice at Student Center on their Facebook profile, calling on students „not to allow empathy for animals to endanger their health and the health of their colleagues.“

„Students, users of accommodation and food services at the Student Center ‘Pristina’ are informed that it is strictly forbidden to feed stray dogs within the premises of the Student Center. These dogs are not pets, most of them have not been taken care of or examined by a veterinarian, and they often carry numerous diseases and parasites that can affect humans,“ reads the announcement of the Student Center.

FOTO: Udruženje za zaštitu životinja „Šapa“/Fejsbuk
No risk of infection

The Animals Protection Association „Sapa“ was quick to condemn the Student Center’s announcement

„As an Association that cares for ABANDONED (NOT! stray) animals, we must react and condemn the announcement that alarmed students who are animal lovers and at the same time volunteers of our Association.“

They denied allegations that the dogs had not been seen by a veterinarian, stating that the dogs within the student complex were sterilized, that is, castrated, vaccinated and treated against parasites.

They specified that there is no risk of infection.

„Each dog has its own name and enjoys the affection of most students. An institution that is part of the University of Pristina, and which openly promotes a lack of basic empathy under the threat of the severe punishment, MUST BE CONDEMNED BY THE PUBLIC!”

„The management of the Student Center should have instead joined the campaign to raise awareness about the harmfulness of abandoning unsterilized animals and appealed to the authorities to work on preventing this.”

They asked the management of the Student Center to take down the notice and „start working on education and encouraging their residents to be good, empathetic people, ready to help everyone in danger, be they animals or people, because those young people are our future.“

Can anyone guarantee that an animal will not get infected after sterilization?

KoSSev portal reached out to the Student Center regarding the notice, asking whether they verified the information that the dogs had not received veterinary care, given the different claims of the „Sapa“ Association.

„If chipping and neutering is considered veterinary treatment, then we have no doubt that a large number of dogs have been treated. But we are all aware that these dogs are in daily contact with other animals, even wild ones, some of which have certainly not received treatment, in contact with rodents, in contact with discarded garbage of various origins. Isn’t that reason enough for our concern for those who approach such animals with good intentions?“ the Student Center wrote in its response to KoSSev.

They state that all animals can carry a „huge“ number of diseases.

„Can anyone guarantee that an animal will not get infected after sterilization? Whether it has fleas, ticks or something else? What diseases can fleas and ticks transmit? Isn’t that enough cause for concern?”

According to the Student Center, they demanded that students refrain from feeding the dogs „not because they don’t like animals, but because they sincerely care about their students.“

„What is it about that notice that is bothering animal lovers? That we warned students not to take food from their canteen and feed it to dozens of dogs surrounding the restaurant and dorms?“ – they asked.

They alleged that the dogs that hang around the student dorms have become very aggressive and „bark and chase everyone who bothers them“.

„Is that not alarming enough, and does it need to be discussed? Or would it be considered by some animal lovers as normal behavior of stray dogs, who are just defending their territory?“

Does love for animals include the need to clean up and remove biological waste after them, as well as garbage „they drag from somewhere,“ the Student Center underlined, noting that they were forced to clean up their garden and re-plant flowers which the dogs keep damaging.

„We didn’t notice any sympathy or apology from animal lovers. There is no talk of help. We have a feeling that these dogs have more rights than our children. Children enjoy the unreserved, enormous love of their parents, as well as from the rest of us. But these apparently our children are not afforded the sort of care and attention that these dogs are.“

According to the Student Center, most of their employees have a family pet, which, they claim, shows that they do not lack appreciation or love for animals.

The Student Center went on to say that: „This is not only about empathy toward animals, but about common sense and caution towards the health of our students.“

Finally, the Student Center offered its cooperation in solving this problem.

„We are ready to provide assistance to any organized shelter for neglected stray dogs. Any organization that takes care of animals in a proper and organized way can find a real and stable partner in us. Posts on social networks criticizing our concern for students cannot be considered dedicated work for the protection of animals,“ the center concluded.

The Animals Protection Association „Sapa“ has been taking care of abandoned animals for years, (since 2018), often with the help of local residents and children who volunteer for them, even though they do not have a place to house them.

They also implement so-called CNVR programs, which include castration, that is, sterilization, vaccination and the return of dogs to their territory. They feed them, treat them, and provide first aid when necessary.

In North Mitrovica, where a large number of families have pets, it is not uncommon for some of them to end up on the street. Often, some local residents try to solve the problem of the large number of dogs on the streets in an inhuman manner.

Every year, the mass poisonings of dogs are recorded. The latest series of poisonings took place over the weekend when several poisoned dogs were found at various locations throughout the town.

On several occasions, „Sapa“ appealed to institutions to identify the people who abandon animals on the street and to stop this practice, urging citizens themselves to report such cases. At the same time, numerous cases of dog poisonings and shootings have been reported to the Kosovo Police over the years, none of which have been solved.

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