The number of stray dogs in Bosnia is a recognised problem. There are a lot. Around Tuzla you occasionally see packs of them, 10 or more, roaming together looking for food. They can be quite frightening, incidents of packs of dogs attacking people in the Balkans is not uncommon (another Balkan blogger Balkan File recently wrote about some dog attacks in Belgrade). The way the Bosnians deal with them vary. Many just ignore them. Others semi-adopt a dog, leaving it food, setting up shelter. Some of the strays are so well fed they will turn up their nose at substandard offerings (note to Jessie, you do not actually have to eat everything that is edible just because it is there). There are so many dogs and puppies that it is difficult not to lose your heart to at least one. Dog Homes are few and far between, and those that are around are poorly funded and unsupported by the government. Susan Johnson's article in Animal Welfare Institute Quarterly tells me that despite many peoples best efforts to persuade governments otherwise, the official government policy to deal with dogs basically consists of the periodic rounding up of the strays and killing them.
We often go up to the hills behind Tuzla, to the woods of Illincica to walk with the boys and Jess. There are a couple of strays who live up there and we've sort of made friends with them. One had puppies back in October and three of them survived the coldest part of the winter. Everytime we saw them, they seemed well fed, sociable dogs always pleased to see new people but not so confident as to be a pain. I had a particular soft spot for one of the puppies, a lovely, shy, leggy lady always wanting to please.
As Jess has been recovering from Lyme's Disease, we hadn't been up to Illincica for a while. This week, the snow melted, the sun came out so we ventured back up there. I didn't see the dogs. So I asked the owner of a restaurant up there where they were. The hunters came, he said. I told them not to, but they shot them anyway.
Sometimes I find this country very difficult to deal with.