Saturday, August 2, 2014

Rescuing the Rescuer

I have been in correspondence with Jelena for over 2years she would not ask for help if she was not desperate! 

Rescuing the Rescuer

Jelena Paunović, activist, rescuer and journalist in Sarajevo needs our help. Please read about her here. Jelena is one of the main reasons anyone outside of Bosnia Herzegovina knows about the dire situation for strays. During last year's attempt to change the BiH animal welfare laws she was fully engaged with helping organise demonstrations against these changes.

She has investigated the 'horror shelters' and shared the story, often putting her own life in danger.

If you have read in this blog the appalling situations in the so-called dog shelters, and in particular with the dog 'shelter' in Hresa, it is primarily due to Jelena's investigative work. No one will ever forget the photograph of the starving dog, taken at the shelter.


But the fact remains that for an intelligent, educated, dedicated young woman in Bosnia, someone who fights a cause - animal welfare  - that the government shows no sign of supporting, a cause that the general populace is against, the options are few, and she is now at her wits end how to survive.

Jelena has had no paid work for well over a year now, but still has managed to continue her advocacy work. She has been trying to find a job in all possible ways but... in Bosnia 60% of young people are unemployed. She is just one more of them (please read her blog, "Fuck this Country"  ).

Jelena can't go on like this. She has one option, to sell her small, but now utterly ruined apartment. It's ruined because of all the rescues she's fostered, and because she's had no income to fix things.

To put the apartment on the market, she has been forced to put into pension (kennels) the cats she rescued over the past eight years and has been fostering, but she has no income to pay the cost of this pension, but also no choice to do this. She is in a terrible situation because of this. She has no possibility of a bank loan, no one in her family who can help and all her friends are in a similar situation: struggling to survive while also struggling to save the animals.

Jelena says: "There are seven cats in total. Other than these, I also have three dogs living in my apartment who were also rescued off the streets. This means that in my devastated apartment I have a total of 10 animals. I have tried to find homes for them, but I failed. For the past four years my apartment has had no heating system and the windows are so old they can no longer hold the glass. I have nylon on my windows instead of glass. Tens of stray dogs went through my flat. When I add it all up, it was nice to save them all, but I have destroyed my life. Now I am trying to sell the apartment in which I can no longer live. All I ask is your help to gather the money to keep the cats in the pension until I can sell my apartment. When people see so many animals, trust me, they vomit, and they bring the price down, and this apartment is the only material thing I own. For the first time I am begging you for help, because I will go insane!"

Many of the dogs you've seen on these blogs that were rescued and eventually found homes for outside of BiH were fostered by Jelena in this apartment.  Surely we can thank her for all the fine work she's done by helping fund the cats until she can sell her apartment?

The cost to keep the cats in pension is 3 euros per day per cat, about 530 euros per month. She's managed to raise some of this, but for this month alone still needs at least 250 euros. Can we raise this and one month in addition so she can focus on selling the apartment and not worry every moment about how she will pay this debt?

And if you think you can offer a home to one of these lovely cats, please email her directly.

If you can help with the pension debt, you can donate directly to Jelena via PayPal to - mark 'for cat debt' -

or if you prefer, via AWABosnia's Paypal:, please mark 'for Jelena's cat pension debt'.

Thank you! Any amount will help, perhaps you can offer to pay one day for one cat (3 EU/4 USD)?


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