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Small private animal shelter is located in Niš in Southern Serbia, a
very poor and depressed region of that country, where wages and pensions
are the lowest in the region. The shelter does not have any official
status, as acquiring this is a costly business in Serbia, and it was
founded in 2006 by Ljubica Gavrić, Olja Hoffman and Slađana Stojković.
The conditions under which it operates are quite basic
by Western standards. It is located in an area where small houses have
been built for use at week-ends and as such there is no running water or
electricity supply available. The shelter has a pump and it is heated
by burning wood in a stove or open fireplace, while lighting is provided
by means of candles and an oil lamp. There are currently some
seventeen dogs, ten spayed females and seven unneutered males and is
situated on a 450 square metre site that belongs to Olja, who lives in
one room together with three cats, all of whom are neutered, and four of
the dogs. The remaining ones live outside in doghouses, some of which
are purpose-built structures while others have been improvised from
kitchen units, but the latter, however are scheduled to be replaced.
There is also a roofed firewood store where the dogs can shelter when it
is raining or cold. These animals have a permanent home at
this shelter since homing them in the surrounding area is not considered
feasible on account of the general level of poverty and the fact that
the shelter’s owners are concerned that adopted animals could be
abandoned should their new owners no longer be able to afford to care
for them. Olja and Slađana are pensioners while Ljubica has paid
employment and they all use their own income to support the animals. For
now shelter funds itself from donations received through betterplace
project that allows using paypal which is not implemented in Serbia yet.
Since the cost of feeding the animals is between €150-200 per month, it
is clear that external help is very much appreciated, especially as
they also feed three street dogs who are always around the shelter and
come regularly for a meal and three dogs and few cats who are in front
of Sladja's building. One of those dogs suffers from demodex and is in
process of recovering. The shelter owners do not undertake any
rescue work. Instead, their friends bring them animals in need of help
or inform Olja as to where the latter are to be found so that she can go
and collect them. Vaccination and other veterinary services are
provided by a vet who works for a local animal protection society and is
also willing to help them whenever they need him. Future plans
that are to be implemented should there be enough money to do so
include completing the replacement of the remaining improvised doghouses
by purpose-built ones and the construction of a fence around the
shelter so that the dogs can roam freely within the grounds. This would
also stop them from getting out, as the shelter is close to a highway,
on the other side of which runs the river Nisava, along whose banks dog
owners walk their pets. TO DONATE: Thank You!

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