An investigation has revealed matters of the utmost animal welfare urgency. There is only one animal shelter in North Macedonia and that is Vardariste in Skopje. The city therefore bears the enormous responsibility of setting an animal welfare example for the entire country to follow. It is an opportunity to display great leadership in managing a challenging situation, according to best international practices.
Instead Vardariste is a place of great cruelty and death. Animal welfare representatives have testified to disease being rife there and that arbitrary euthanasia takes place on a regular basis. Hundred, possibly thousands of street dogs suffer abuse and slaughter at the facility.
At Vardariste, dogs sleep on wet floors, in their own faeces. In winter, they suffer from frostbite.
Dogs, including nearly all puppies taken there, mysteriously vanish overnight or die of parvoviruses and distemper.
Although charges of abuse, neglect and inhumane killing have been laid against shelter workers, the accused are still allowed to handle animals. Offers of help from animal welfare volunteers were refused and they are denied permission to fully inspect the shelter.
Vardariste has an official policy of CNR (Catch, Neuter, Release). PAL fully supports CNR, but we have been provided with evidence that it is not properly implemented at Vardariste. We understand there are some 7000 homeless dogs in Skopje, yet in the period between January and June 2018, the city caught and treated only 405 dogs, a situation that is woefully inadequate and will lead to greater problems for Skopje in future.