Bosnia dog lovers protest over new euthanasia laws

Sun Dec 15, 2013 6:39pm EST
 
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SARAJEVO (Reuters) - Hundreds of dog-lovers protested in Bosnia on Sunday against new legislation allowing for the animals to be put down after complaints the country's large number of strays were biting people and becoming a nuisance

Up to 13,000 strays roam the capital Sarajevo alone, with emergency services reporting a large number of people being attacked and raising public pressure on the authorities to take action to remove the animals from the streets.

Parliament amended the law last week, setting a 15-day time-limit on strays being housed in a rescue shelter without being adopted before being put down.

However, in a deeply ethnically divided country where rival Serb, Croat and Bosniak Muslim politicians cannot agree on any meaningful reform, animal rights activists from all communities united in protest.

"The dogs definitely should be removed from the streets but the only way for us is sterilization, sterilization, sterilization," said Sasa Ikanovic, holding a puppy, Bea, adopted from the streets of the northeastern town of Bijeljina last week.

The activists are also calling for more rigorous laws on owners who abandon their pets.

(Reporting by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Alison Williams)