Kosovo offering bounty to rid streets of stray dogs

Along with other unwanted legacies of its brief war, Kosovo is plagued with growing packs of stray dogs and is offering a bounty for the tail of every hound gunned down and killed off.

“Their number keeps growing rapidly. If we don’t undertake such actions, we will be soon overcome by stray dogs,” said Fadil Qela, an agricultural official who has supervised culls in the northern city of Mitrovica.

The catalyst in his region was the death of a seven-year-old child who died after he was “torn apart” by a pack two years ago, he said.

(Not cool, but at least it could give Albanians some idea what it feels like to be a Serb in their Kosovo.)

A total 370 dogs have since been shot dead in five separate hunts by a local Mitrovica association in February and March. The animals — many of them former pets abandoned during and after the war — roam around urban centres including Pristina, the capital of the United Nations-run Serbian province…[Brigitte] Bardot and others criticise the mass shootings — and the monetary incentive, at 10 dollars (7.5 euros) a tail, turning citizens into bounty hunters — as futile.

But an upsurge in complaints prompted authorities to turn to local hunting associations for help. The latest cull targets Pristina, where officials have called for at least 500 dogs to be shot in the coming weeks. And the hunts have the backing of both police and NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo.

“Hunters were followed by police patrols and public services workers who collected the carcasses and buried them in the city garbage dump,” said Qela, adding the reward is ” 7.50 euros (10 dollars) for the tail of each dog killed.”

But Visar Uflla, who hosts a popular local animal television show and has tried to organise shelters and adoption for strays, feels the situation has been exaggerated. “Hundreds of dogs, among them puppies and bitches looking for food, are killed because of one aggressive dog,” she said.

“Killing is not and cannot be a solution if we want a Kosovo with no killing any more,” [Pristina Mayor Ismet Beqiri] said.

(The 1,000 Serbs killed since the start of our peacekeeping mission notwithstanding.)

IN CONTRAST:

Belgrade’s authorities have adopted a new strategy to solve the problem of abandoned dogs in the capital.

Abandoned animals will be neutered and vaccinated, while dog owners will be offered to have their pets micro-chipped free of charge…For a long time the capital’s number one communal problem has been that of stray dogs. The strategy will offer a modern approach to the unfortunate animals, that of help and re-homing, rather than the so-called humane euthanasia…

The dog owners can have a gratis micro chip placed in their pets, which is at the same time their legal obligation. Since the plan includes a program of finding new homes for the abandoned animals, the doors of the Ovča asylum will open to those who wish to rescue a dog. Those who do so, will get a neutered, vaccinated and micro-chipped dog, and will be exempt from paying any taxes or vaccination costs for the next three years, not to mention the privilege of acquiring a new best friend.

New city shelters for abandoned dogs are also planned, as the existing one in Ovča is set to become the neutering center.

Ah, always nice to see that America backs those who share our values. Then again, it was under Clinton that we bombed the Serbs on behalf of Kosovo Albanians, and Bubba indeed had more in common with the latter: Zeke, the Cocker Spaniel the Clintons had in Arkansas, was neutered only after repeated complaints from neighbors that he was impregnating all the bitches in Little Rock. (Like Buddy and the hounds of Kosovo, Zeke ran loose, because Hillary preferred him to play in the traffic rather than the house.)