Strays in Macedonia

A short overview of the situation in our home country

The bitter taste of reality

As some of you may know, our country is very small and poor. It is located at the heart of the Balkans, is not part of the European Union, and struggles with multiple economic, political, and social issues. Correspondingly, but not yet less excusable, growing up around thousands of suffering stray animals is part of the everyday landscape…

The local population lacks consideration, education, responsibility, and empathy for these animals and therefore, it is very common to witness severe animal abuse, ruthlessness, and disrespect regarding stray dogs, cats, horses and donkeys.

IS THIS ACCEPTABLE?

Play Video

Dog breeding, irresponsible ownership (no neutering or spaying), and abandonment are at the origin of this situation and omnipresent suffering…

Out of control

Over the years, we have seen terrible things and we are working relentlessly to inverse this situation: Sensitizing the population and rescuing abused* and/or abandoned stray dogs.

Moreover, we are sad to underline, that the Macedonian government has not been of help regarding this matter; neither educating the citizens towards a caring, respectful and responsible behaviour towards animals nor in decreasing the number of stray dogs in a humane manner.

2020 has marked an unprecedented peak in the number of stray dogs. The situation is out of control and every morning, we are holding our breaths, hoping that we don’t discover new babies, pregnant moms, or females in heat.

Animal welfare

Small NGOs and scattered citizens are engaged day by day in neutering actions and raise their voices in order to stimulate the government to pass indispensable laws in terms of animal protection, welfare, and rights.

And although our efforts have already paid off for some lucky souls, we are very sad to conclude, that North-Macedonia is still very far from an acceptable situation in terms of animal welfare regarding pets alone.

*dog fights, lifetime chaining, malnutrition, stabbing, lighting, poisoning, running over, drowning, etc.

Never give up

Corruption, blackmailing, breach of confidence and trust, instrumentalization, and the lack of honesty and professionalism within the Macedonian authorities and population (with some exceptions) are complicating our work tremendously and prevent even the smallest form of progress concerning our matter.

Ultimately, we are not losing hope, nor determination and will continue fighting, as long as our community of supporters allows us to pursue our mission. Everything our hearts and souls can afford, we dedicate to you, stray dogs of North-Macedonia!

We love you from the bottom of our hearts and we will come to your rescue, please stay strong!

Vardarishte

Located next to a dump

The former kill shelter Vardarishte was a horrible place for hundreds of dogs. Many of them left their lives within the filthy boxes of this shelter….left to die without food, love, medication or a warm bed. The sad truth behind this “neutering station” was neglect at its highest level…

Practices

Vardarishte’s protocol started by picking up dogs from the streets with a van and it was not uncommon to see non-stray dogs locked down behind bars. The government then ran tests on these dogs in order to check their status regarding Mediterranean Diseases, which are deathly and contagious. Although all these diseases are curable, the government left none of the dogs tested positive alive…

Moreover, Parvovirosis and Coronavirus are very common amongst the stray dog population, namely amongst puppies, but healthy and sick dogs were kept in the same boxes, which were almost never cleaned (at best only with water).

Vardarishte became the ultimate cluster for epidemics and a vicious circle was the result: Sick dogs were killed and healthy dogs, who inevitably caught the viruses within Vardarishte, were reserved the same fatal end.

Every Saturday

Together with other activists, we gathered every Saturday to provide these dogs with all the necessities they had been denied of. We watched out for them, tried to improve their situation, and from time to time we managed to retrieve some dogs – especially the most critical cases (amongst others the ones with Mediterranean Diseases).

Not all of these dogs have survived, but most of them have found a loving home, like Uma (UK), Fluffy (Germany), Bisera (UK), Chedo (UK), or Lavce (France).

Nevertheless, we are still missing a caring home for our courageous survivor Frida – she’s been waiting in a kennel for more than two years now…

activism

Standing up for those who have no rights; Defending the interests of those who have no voice. 

Our deepest wish was to shut down this inhumane and substandard piece of hell. So we gathered, again and again, with other activists and different organizations from Skopje. We went on protest marches, intensified our communication via social media and took part in several interviews, set up petitions, and wrote letters to the major.

In 2019, thanks to the ambitious and persistent engagement of all the activists and organizations in Skopje, Vardarishte finally closed its doors for temporary, sanitary renovation.

Imagine being in their place

Our gratitude goes to Phatooni, who contacted us two years ago in order to report about the horrific situation in Skopje's dog shelter. His video helped raise awareness within the population. Thank you!