The Shelters & Managers
We currently support 2 shelters for dogs & cats - one run by Goran in Belgrade and the other by Jelena in Niš and Serbia's first Horse Sanctuary - run by Zeljko Ilicic near Lapovo.
Goran began his adventures in animal rescue when he spotted his daughter sneaking food out of the house. Intrigued, he followed her and discovered she had taken pity on some street dogs nearby and had been feeding them.
Goran knew immediately that these dogs would not survive for long without his help and made the decision to take them to his step-mother’s empty house to keep them safe from harm.
So began his journey from army veteran to animal hero!
Goran’s shelter is still based in the same house and is now adapted to offer safe and secure long term lodgings for animals in need – he currently cares for around 100 dogs and focuses much time, energy and scarce resources on a neuter and release scheme to reduce the numbers of street dogs suffering in his local area.
During the terrible 2014 floods Goran once again came to the rescue (video below) – he leapt into action to rescue hundreds of abandoned and stranded animals.
He travelled by boat to feed and save scores of desperate and terrified dogs and cats. He re-united lost pets with their families and single-handedly saved hundreds of lives.
Please take a look at some of the photos below which give you a glimpse into this animal-hero’s world.
Goran is married with 2 children.
His passion (outside of animal rescue) is martial arts & he coaches local children and offers them the opportunity to travel throughout Serbia to compete.
250+ Dogs & Cats
Jelena grew up in Belgrade, Serbia and always felt drawn to help the abandoned and neglected animals on the local streets.
After studying in the UK and visiting animal rescues and shelters, Jelena was inspired to try to offer the local dogs and cats a better life in a shelter in her home town.
Sadly dogs and cats in Serbia are perceived by many as pests and are at risk of poisoning and dreadful cruelty.
Jelena began without funding and scraped together enough rent for some land on the edge of town.
Over the next 11 years Jelena utilised social media to secure supporters from around the world who helped her to put together ever-improving kennels and to provide food and medical care for the never-ending abandoned dogs of Niš.
The shelter currently holds around 250 dogs, all now receive their daily kibble and have their medical needs met.
All are neutered and vaccinated and treated for worms, ticks and fleas whenever funds allow. It is a constant struggle for the few small international charities who support Jelena’s shelter financially – with so many dogs and new puppies arriving throughout the year the costs are high and re-homing continues to try to keep pace with the new arrival numbers.
Each year many puppies are dumped at the shelter and in more recent years this has been managed successfully to protect them from disease and many puppies now survive.
Supporters pay workers to feed the dogs and clean the shelter and others to socialise the dogs and puppies to maximise their chances of adoption.
Scroll though the slideshow below to see more of Goran's work.
There has been great success more recently with a secure dog exercise area – this was made possible due to the generous donations of individuals, organisations and companies (detailed on the plaque above) and has proven to improve the quality of life for the dogs immeasurably.
Jelena has a deep love of and empathy for animals, she is a passionate vegan and a true advocate for animal rights.
She continues to work with her team of volunteers and workers to keep local animals out of danger and to educate the public on animal welfare and the benefits of neutering.
Zeljko has been rescuing animals for more than 25 years - mostly wild animals.
His father was a game-keeper and he spent a lot of his time in the woods, destroying man-made animal traps, chasing poachers away and following animal tracks. He worked alone, with no support from any animal rescue organisation.
During the floods of 2014 Zeljko worked with other like-minded rescuers and helped to save more than 50 dogs. His experience as a Red Beret was particularly useful as they were rescuing under difficult circumstances by boat as well as on land.
His first horse was saved 4 years ago and last year he was able to continue rescuing horses as his shelter became a reality. Now, with the support of Serbias Forgotten Paws it has become the first official sanctuary for horses in the region. Zeljko's aim is to rescue, care for, rehabilitate and socialize horses.
Zeljko supports his sanctuary by working as an outdoor survival instructor using his skills as a tracker and survival guide.
Click on the photo below or this text for more info on Staro Brdo (Old Hill) Equine Sanctuary