Vicious cycle of killing on the streets of North Mitrovica – Who is responsible?

FOTO: Udruženje za zaštitu životinja „Šapa“/Fejsbuk

There is almost no city in the region where animals, especially abandoned ones, are not abused. However, in North Mitrovica, a city that was once known as a pet-friendly place, they are not only abused but also killed. In recent years, animals that have settled on the streets have been killed in various ways – from being shot to mass poisoning. So far, no one has been held accountable for these crimes.

The first case of mass killing of dogs with firearms occurred in June 2017, when dozens of dogs were shot with a pistol at several locations.

Animal lovers protested to help the unfortunate animals and shelter those who were still alive. This was followed by the establishment, and widespread support for, the Paw Animal Protection Association (more commonly referred to as ‘Šapa’).

However, this was not the only massacre of dogs using guns. Similar events occurred in March 2019, and then in in July 2021.

Hundreds of animals, both abandoned and owned, loved and unloved, have been killed by poison in recent years.

For many years, as „Šapa“ determined, they were killed with furadan, an extremely dangerous and illegal carbamate pesticide with an extremely high toxicity level for humans. This poison has been banned in most European countries for 10 years and is extremely toxic if swallowed or inhaled.

Furadan, a brightly colored poison, quickly killed abandoned and pet animals, but not before they suffered. This poison caused muscle cramps throughout the body and nerve damage, leaving permanent organ damage in the small number of animals that survived.
In addition, furadan endangered both people and the wider environment, as is the case with other poisons, remains potent for some time and therefore continued to a pose a danger even after the animals that had come into contact with it had died.

In the latest mass poisoning, which has lasted for just over a month, 27 abandoned dogs, 7 pet dogs, and several cats and birds were killed, while the lives of 9 abandoned dogs and two pet dogs were saved thanks to the quick reaction’ of Šapa’s members and volunteers, as well as veterinarians in the southern part of Kosovska Mitrovica.

So many people in our city lost their beloved pets.

During this latest mass poisoning, as noted by Šapa, a different poison – colorless – was used. Even the symptoms of poisoning were slightly different – drooling, hard stomach, inability to vomit. This time, even volunteers who were saving animals reported allergic reactions on their skin after coming into contact with the saliva of poisoned dogs.

What has not changed is the fact that dogs are being killed by it, and the environment, people, and children are endangered.

These numerous killings over the past several years have been regularly reported to the Kosovo police, who have never made the results of their investigations public. The prosecution in Mitrovica has launched an investigation into the latest cases of poisoning, which have been characterized as „Animal abuse and contamination of animal food and water,“ but as yet, remain unresolved.

This one-month killing spree and unresolved cases were the reason for another protest last week – „Stop poisoning Mitrovica.“

They requested renewed police and judicial investigations of those responsible for the poisonings, while also asking that the Institute of Public Health determine the type of poison used against the dogs, and from municipal services to remove and dispose of animals’ bodies and to remove the poison from public areas.

Citizens were called upon to get involved in protecting their city and their rights, as well as the rights of animals.

However, despite the public outcry and local residents’ distress, the poisoning has not stopped, with one dog dying in Bošnjačka Mahala on the day of the protest on the 1st of April, and another few days later. In the latest poisoning, another dog was poisoned last night, which had previously sheltered near people who cared for it.

The number of abandoned animals, especially stray dogs, has not decreased over the years. The explanation for this is simple: Dogs who had passed through the vaccination and sterilization program, but who did not survive being poisoned, soon had their places taken by other strays.

There is another problem – the abandonment of dogs.

Dogs end up on streets because their owners threw them out. In addition, according to several witnesses, in the northern part of Mitrovica, dozens of dogs are often dumped from an unknown direction at once. Although they emphasize that they cannot prove it, several activists and volunteers have expressed suspicion that new animals are being brought in from other municipalities.

And now, just when new dogs become accustomed to humans, pets of their regions are killed, new ones will replace them, and thus a new vicious circle begins – poisoning, abandonment, killing, abandonment…

In addition to killing and endangering the immediate living space in the city, „the new normality“ is becoming acceptable to solve problems through killing, that violence is acceptable.

The process is well known to everyone. Yet, what has remained unknown for years are the answers to the questions:

Who is responsible for killing animals? And will they be held responsible?

Read more:

Another large-scale dog poisoning in N. Mitrovica

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