Local residents in Sazli, protesting against the construction of the dog shelter. November 2023. Photo: BIRN.

Protest Against Dog Shelter Construction in Prishtina Unites Local Albanians and Serbs

Residents of the Slivova village in Prishtina, both Albanians and Serbs, are opposing a project to build a shelter and park for stray dogs through a petition addressed to the municipality. The allocated parcel is situated near residential homes and the primary school.

In Slivova village, located 24 kilometers from Prishtina, the municipality allocated approximately 10 hectares for the implementation of this project in 2022. However, local residents, local Albanians and Serbs, gathered to protest against the project, claiming they were unaware of the shelter’s location until construction work began a few days ago.

Jakup Ramadani, the director of the elementary school ‘Filip Shiroka,’ expressed concern about the situation, stating that the location is only 200 meters away from the school in a straight line.

“The situation is quite concerning at the moment, especially for the school and the residents living nearby because building a shelter for stray dogs in the middle of the village and close to the school is very damaging. I was not aware of this until the construction started; we were not informed, and there has been no debate,” he stated.

According to Ramadani, as there will also be a park for dogs, it will affect the concentration of pupils and cause noise for residents nearby.

“I don’t know what activities will take place when children are more attracted to that area when the dogs bark and make noise,” Ramadani added further.

In the area where the shelter is planned, two rivers flow, which later empty into the Badovc lake, from which almost the entire Region of Prishtina is supplied with drinking water. There are also families using reservoirs for water supply, posing a risk of pollution due to the proximity of the shelter.

Bojan Simijonivic, a resident of the village, stated that it is not appropriate to build such shelters near homes, schools, or clinics because it jeopardizes the quality of life.

“The municipality should follow the model of Switzerland, Germany, or other European countries, where such construction would not be allowed near residential areas,” he stated.

Officials from the municipality of Prishtina visited the site on Thursday to hear the concerns of residents who requested that the project be implemented in other areas without residents, such as in Koznica, which is about 3 kilometers away from the village.

The residents also mentioned that there are businesses nearby that could be affected by the proximity of such a shelter. They emphasized that they are not against the construction of such a shelter but not in an area close to residential homes.

Another Serbian resident of the village asked the municipality to build a factory that would facilitate employment instead of a shelter for dogs.

Bajram Gecaj, responsible for security issues in the municipality of Prishtina, stated that the municipality’s data did not indicate any residential properties near the parcel when the plan was made.

He mentioned that they would review the residents’ concerns and decide whether the project will be implemented farther away or in another village.

“We have been in the field before, but at this level [from above], there are no houses around, and we thought it was entirely fine. However, the shelter needs to be built somewhere, and no matter where we build it, citizens will complain. Nevertheless, the law states that the shelter must be 500 meters away from houses, and for this reason, we need to reconsider,” Gecaj emphasized.

Gecaj further highlighted that the construction of this shelter would provide employment for many village residents, with an estimated 40-50 workers in total.

The municipality of Prishtina has been dealing with the high number of stray dogs for several years. During 2023, Prishtina also built another shelter for stray dogs in Hajvali and the village of Honrofc. The shelters primarily focus on the treatment of dogs [neutering, spaying, vaccination] before releasing them in their respective areas from where they were taken. However, the shelter in Slivova includes a park for dogs, which, according to residents, could cause noise and environmental pollution.

According to the data, the Prishtina region has over 5,000 stray dogs. As a measure to tackle this issue, during this year, the municipality decided to allocate a subsidy of 50 euros per month for citizens who adopt stray dogs.

Additionally, the municipality has set up over 20 feeding points for stray dogs in various locations throughout the city. The focus is to provide places where dogs can be fed in a way that does not pose a threat to the citizens.

29/11/2023 - 15:58

29 November 2023 - 15:58

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