Serbia floods: Animals also need help

"It is uncivilized to forbid rescuing of animals, as the dog in someone’s lap does not occupy space in the rescue boat," Danica Drobac, president of the European Initiative 17, states.

Source: Politika, Kurir
A dog is evacuated from Šabac (Politika/M. Erakovic)
A dog is evacuated from Šabac (Politika/M. Erakovic)

While saving their own lives in the flood affected areas, many people were forced to leave their pets behind. Soon, information spread that in some reception centers, cats and dogs were being separated from their owners - an additional trauma for them, and it was also heard that the abandoned animals were "being shot."

“The Law on Veterinary and Animal Welfare says that if the animals are separated from their owners in emergency situations should not be shot. They should be accommodated in the quarantine for observation”, claims Drobac, whose organization that deals with the protection of street dogs. She said that she was horrified with the photos that can be seen on the internet and on TV, depicting the suffering of helpless animals.

"It is not civilized to prevent rescue of animals. We have adopted European legal acts, but in such cases, we are not observing them," Drobac underlines, adding that a dog in someone’s lap does not occupy space in the rescue boats.

Dogs lucky enough to leave Obrenovac or any other evacuated area do not present any kind of danger for the people and environment. They do not jeopardize health of the people placed in reception centers, nor are they contagious or can cause infection, Danica Drobac underlines.

Elvir Burazerovic, director of animal welfare organization ORCA, points out that we still do not have developed awareness as to how to treat animals.

"Of course, rescuing human lives was a top priority. Saving pets and other animals was of the secondary importance, but this should be a kind of warning that parallel rescuing should be organized in the future," stated Burazerovic, reiterating that there were cases when people refused to evacuate as they did not want to leave their dog, cat, or some other pet behind.

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