Bosnia: Sarajevo creates unit 'to catch stray dogs'

Stray dogs in Sarajevo Image copyright International balkans news agency

Authorities in the Bosnian capital Sarajevo are setting up a special dog-catching service to clear the city's streets of dangerous strays - but animal welfare activists warn the plans are insufficient.

Aggressive street dogs are a big problem for Bosnia-Hercegovina - it's thought there are around 12,000 homeless dogs roaming the streets of the capital, the Independent Balkans News Agency reports. Around 1,000 people were attacked by stray dogs in Sarajevo last year, regional news website Balkan Insight adds. "We have to react and we are starting a crew to catch the dangerous dogs," says Zlatko Petrovic, Sarajevo Canton environment minister.

But it's not clear what will happen to the dogs once they are caught. In 2009, it became illegal to euthanise stray dogs and the city's only dog shelter is reportedly already full. Bosnian social media is full of reports of canines being rounded up and killed.

UK charity Dogs Trust, which runs a programme in Bosnia to vaccinate and castrate stray dogs, says the main problem is that existing laws are not enforced properly - and what the city really needs is more animal shelters and medical centres.

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