Over three years enthusiastic founders and members of a non-profit organisation Utulok v Udoli (The Shelter in The Valley) In Dubnica nad Vahom, Slovakia, have been saving and caring for abandoned and unwanted animals. At the third anniversary of the founding, we asked Mr Viliam Jaros, who is managing director of this organisation, for an interview. We are hoping that what you'll read will help to give you a more understanding picture and bring more knowledge about the hard work of this non-profit organisation.
Q: What was your main reason for establishing this shelter and when did you first start to think about this idea?
A: I got this idea immediately after the collapse of "the iron curtain (The Berlin wall)" in hope for a better life for everybody in this country. Unfortunately, I was getting negative response and also I lack enough money to realise my ideas. After year 1989 our community started to go totally differently as we planned. Our lives started to be more overwhelming which finally took the effect to not to care about others or weaker. Unfortunately, this is as a payment for our freedom.
Because I didn't lose my hope and my ideas, after all, I got my dreams become true. This happened thanks to hard work of our members and also we had some luck. In February 1989 we started our activities under sponsorship of SEV DUB. After some time we made the decision to go solo due to subject of our work. We needed the independent organisation for specific nature of our work and also we needed the finance to realise all this. At this moment we are still co-operative with SEV DUB and we are educating children and youth. Here I would like to thank to all who helped us to realise our project. Without them we wouldn't be here today. Also our thanks to ZVS in Dubnica n/V, who is our general sponsor and the landlord of our premises.
Q: What is the main role of your establishment?
A: Our Shelter in the Valley is the organisation that is helping to survive to abandon, sick or tortured animals. The main role for our shelter is to find a new home to our dogs and give them back their lost trust into human love. Apart of this we are enlightening and educating our youth. Especially in the summer time, when we have a lot of excursions from the students of surrounding schools.
Our main streams of our work:
- Save the animals from killing and from torture
- Vaccinate program for the dogs
- Find the solution to the wander dogs in out cities
- Educate our children and our youth to save our environment
- Obedience classes for the dogs
- Advisory and counseling meetings
- Catchments of wander cats mostly from business premises, schools, or hospitals; consequent sterilization and vaccination
Our shelter managed to save up to date 632 dogs out of which 581 have been found a new home. Unfortunately, we are experiencing some problems on a daily basis. We found it very sad, that we didn't find any support from City council officials, whom, ironically, are using our free service too. Our members are working here on voluntary base and without wages. Thanks to their help and salvation we are able to save those who cannot help themselves.
Q: For running such a large organisation you need a lot of finance. Who is financing you and how are they doing it?
A: We realized that our society is going through the transformation process, and there is not enough finance to do so immediately. However, we believe we will receive some financial support in the near future. Our organization would probably be extinct by now without the devoted work of our members. As I mentioned before, we don't get any financial help from surrounding City Councils. Well, there are some little acceptations. I have to mention towns like Ladce, Koseca, Puchov for their small, I can say symbolic donations. Our work got to know internationally as well by similar German organization Tierversuchsgegner Hessen-Menchen fur Tierrechte from Frankfurt a M, which donated money for our Shelter and we are still co-operating with them. Since November 2000, they are sponsor to our organization, which we are recognising as a great valuation and acknowledgement to our work. Therefore it is surprising, that overseas they know our work better that here, at home. Up to today's date we haven't registered any visits from City Councils representatives from any of the surrounding towns like Nova Dubnica, Dubnica or Trencin. Ironically, we gain the most wandering animals from these towns.
Q: It looks like you are not saving the dogs only. Have you got any other animals in your shelter?
A: You are right, since last year we have 3 horse mares and few goats.
Q: How these animals found the way to your shelter?
A: One mare we bought from the Italian exportation, otherwise she would be finished as a sausage. These dark English-Arabian horses we bought for a little, more-less symbolic price from Mr Krauss from the firm Ludoprint. We are all excited about them and they are cheering our daily lives. I am dreaming about establishing a Cavalry club one day. Unfortunately, this idea must wait, as we have to solve other priorities first.
Q: Your "patrons" need a daily dose of exercise. Who is taking care of the dog's toiletry?
A: We are witnessing daily the cruelty and torturing of the animals. We realised, that in order to prevent to this, we have to educate especially our children and the youth. We allowed the children to visit our premises in believing that they will one day take over our not so easy work. We registered over 150 kids. Sadly, we had big problems when we discovered, that one of our student's parents were abusing her at home. After a long process of humiliation of my family and myself by these parents, we made the decision to stop bringing children in as workers. The children are still welcome in our establishment, but only accompanied by their parents. To answer your question, "VPP" workers do the dog's toiletry, (special work for the dole government's scheme). We placed 3 workers last year and 2 this year.
Q: Is there something, which is making your live miserable?
A: Ha-ha-ha (laughter). I don't think, that you would have enough space in your paper. I do not consider myself as a notorious complainer. I am using my own abilities to the limit. If I could tell to the people who do not understand to our destiny, than leave us alone! We have feeling, that people envy each other and we cannot get rid of this feeling. There are lots of rumors, which are not true. People are criticizing things they don't understand. All this is leading to make a lot of moral damage.
Anyway, I have 2 cases, which are relevant to this question.
Not long ago, people from Dubnica were shocked when a pit bull attacked a small child. I think I was one of the first to be informed about this. Not in a nice way, because I was almost physically attacked as well. Word is faster than thought and people were accusing the dog of belonging to our shelter. After some discussion everything was cleared, but none of those people apologized to me.
Also, during Christmas someone delivered a dog hit by a car. We had a lot of unpleasant telephone calls, because people were thinking that I would kill the dog rather than save him. I had to allow people to check inside our premises, so they could see, that the dog is alive. But none of them offered any donations toward his healing. I feel miserable sometimes. People are more interested in the sensation, as per proverb: "the more blood the better". And we have tens of dogs with similar stories. Not to mention our horses. In Dubnica, there are so many "experts" for horses, it's laughable. I believe that there is about 90% of people employed in incorrect positions. Everybody is happy be employed, has a bad attitude to the work which they are doing. Thank God, this is unlike me. I love my work!
I heard many untrue accusations about our organization. Some of them attracted the investigation from the Watchdog Board. After the inspection, we never had any problems found. It was funny from the beginning, but now I have to think of some defensive methods. And that's not that good.
Q: What would you like to tell our readers?
A: I would be very happy if people, after reading this article, don't try to get rid of their dogs and bring them here. I have the experience from previous interviews with the media, that we registered 100% raise dog's admissions. I would like to see people taking the dogs out from this shelter and giving them a new future, new hope, new family and a new home.
I would like to thank you for letting me express my feelings. And last but not least my thanks to all who made it possible to establish and run our shelter, The Shelter in The Valley, Dubnica, Slovakia.