If the dog is man's best friend, why is man sometimes the dog's worst
In Serbia they shoot dogs
This is a letter from one of our readers. We publish it here hoping that
the message will reach those to whom it is addressed. And everyone else
in Serbia who makes such decisions.
As usual, out of habit, I got out of bed and read the paper. The front
page of the daily shows an idyllic photograph of Mt Zlatibor, covered in
this year's first snow. I don't really believe that any reader could be
indifferent to this beautiful photograph, not be drawn to picture
himself, at least for a moment, sitting right on this mountain, in the
heaven of this winter resort, the "pride and honour of Serbia".
I was lucky enough to have a chance to bring the scene captured by this
photograph to life, because I returned from Zlatibor last night, having
greeted the first snow of the year.
I graduated two weeks ago from the Economics Faculty of Belgrade
University. This is why my girlfriend and I decided to spend five days
in an apartment owned by my family on this mountain which has given me
so much pleasure and so many wonderful moments every day I have spent
However, the unfortunate event I witnessed while I was there is
something that we will not and must not be indifferent to, and I will do
all in my power to see to it that it never happens again. This is why I
turned on my computer first thing this morning - to make an appeal,
because I believe that in these not-so-glorious times for our country,
when the are stories of murders all over the papers, you are sensitive
to what some people consider the less important things.
On my last day at Zlatibor, having woken up at 7.00 a.m., as I did every
day there, I was witness to a horrifying event, on Tuesday, November 5.
Along the river walk, near King Aleksandar's water fountain, I noticed
traces of blood. At first I thought that someone must have slipped and
injured themselves while getting water. But, following the trail of
blood, I noticed a dead dog a few metres away.
A few steps further on, in front of the local post office, I noticed
another dead dog. There was no blood, so I thought a car must have run
over it, although the centre of Zlatibor is a pedestrian only. But just
a few metres further on, at the small junction near the market, things
became much clearer: more dead dogs. I remembered that I had seen a
young guy with a hunting rifle over his shoulder near the cafes.
Then, on the street leading to the Jugopetrol rest house, I saw a car
pull up and a hunter with a rifle getting out of it. He was chasing a
dog the size of a large cat which was bounding around a family coming
down the hill. I ran to protect the dog from certain death. It put its
tail between its legs and hid behind the legs of the family, looking for
protection. Having managed to get to the dog before this wicked man's
bullet, I asked him "Are you out of your mind? How would you feel if
someone was chasing you with a gun trying to kill you? Who gave you the
right to do this?":
His insolent reply was "Is that your dog? Better take it home with you
if you have any sympathy for it!"
I took the dog in my arms and headed for my apartment. I heard a
question in English. The people this little dog had been following were
foreigners. The man looked at me, puzzled and somewhat frightened, and
"What did he actually want to do?"
"To kill this dog!" I replied.
"Why? It followed us all the way from the hotel. It's really sweet!"
He asked a few more questions, like whether the hunters had a permit and
did the municipality authorise them to do this, before finishing, "Well,
yes, there's no Brigitte Bardot here!"
This whole unpleasant incident took place before the eyes of the
horrified locals and children, obviously frightened by it, and tourists.
Shop assistants in the nearby kiosks, vendors from the market, children
and foreigners cheered the few of us who were trying to protect a number
of small dogs, carrying them in our arms as far away from the centre as
Later I asked at the local police station and other local authorities
and learnt that these slaughters are organised by hunters' associations,
mainly the Zlatibor Hunter's Association. The head of this organisation
is Dobrosav Buci� and the permits are issued by Cajetina Mayor Radovan
Joji�. This happens twice a year.
I would like to ask a few simple questions:
Is there a law that allows civilians to carry and use firearms in the
centre of an inhabited place?
Is it possible that someone issues permits (we didn't actually see any)
and allows the use of firearms in the middle of a winter tourist resort,
right before the eyes of residents, guests, small children and
foreigners, as though this were hunting season in some game reserve, and
not an urban environment, in fact a town centre on a mountaint which
should be the pride and honour of this country's tourist resorts.
Are we a country which is attempting to integrate into developed and
civilised Europe? Is this how we demonstrate our civilised behaviour?
Do we want the world to know us only by wars and evil, and do we want
the few tourists who come here to go home from their summer and winter
holidays with tales of savagery?
Dogs are being killed in large numbers in the very centre of Zlatibor, a
resort which attrracts large numbers of people. The problem of stray
dogs does need to be solved, but not in this monstrous and barbaric
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]