ACT Serbia – Long-term help for the dog shelter “Bella” in Budisava, 2013.

Long-term Help for the dog shelter “Bella” in Budisava,


The asylum “Bella” is the only large, private asylum for stray dogs in Backa region in Serbia. It was founded on a messuage on 4th November, 2008. By the law it had to be at least 500m away from the inhabited place, so it is located at the place where the infrastructure has not been built yet. The task of completing the work about running the asylum has been assigned to a small group of volunteers who selflessly help the asylum.

Though there is a website for this asylum, the picture about it is not clear until one personally gets there. Therefore the ACT Foundation Serbian team visited the asylum “Bella” on the 13th December 2013. The day was clear, dry and cold. Our arrival was not unnoticed – the dogs came around us, and we even fondled some like tame domestic doggies. To be honest, they really tamed them and trained them, they keep them tidy, though they are predominantly tortured, beaten, wounded and abandoned animals! Of course, there are exceptions, some of them are still distrustful and unpredictable. We were welcomed by the barking from all around, along with the smells indescribably persuasive for the kennels, though they are conscientiously kept and they are in the open. And we melted while listening to Zorka, this brave woman while she was talking openly for a long time, about the help they received so far, about various, often unfulfilled promises, then about the needs, the long-term ones as well as the immediate ones, related to the dog care.

When you look at the website, it looks sweet and charming, but it is physically harsh and elbow-grease and it is all for the good of the dogs. Zorka is 65 years old and she is fit and healthy. She lives at the messuage, being more in the cold than in the warm. She lives in a little house which is utterly poorly furnished, without the entrance door, and the door in the corridor are also rather decayed. She is a frugal person who spends every dinar (RSD) on the needs of her pets, whereas she uses only minimum for herself, so she heats her house very occasionally and it is very cold inside.

The asylum is vast and has about 400 dogs out of which 390 have been sterilised and well fed. What is the problem is the accomodation of these dogs in the cold – they need blankets and also terry so that she can wipe the dogs she washes, as well as to warm up those younger ones during these cold days. Zorka has employed two people to help her with this huge job.

The dogs mainly lie on the straw, but it is possible that they get infected whenever a disease or some poisonous tick occurs as now is the case. That is why they have to burn larger amounts of straw which is an additional expense. They mostly have the medicines and food, they need vaccination against rabies. If you have contacts with veterinarians or city office which deals with this issue and you can help us to push this, please let us know. Zorka has already tried it several times, but was rejected with various excuses.

As an immediate help, we decided to take blankets and terry to asylum on 28th December, 2013. Furthermore, during these winter holidays, days of love and gifts, we organised a surprise for Zorka, buying her a holiday lunch as a symbol of New Year. Namely, she spends New Year Eves making the round of her pets trying to calm them down because most of them get frightened at the shooting sound of firecrackers.

ACT Foundation Serbia has also initiated a long-term financial cooperation with the asylum “Bella”:

  1. We offered precise financial help of 2000 RSD per month from the 1st of December onwards.

Then on Zorka’s suggestion we took responsibility to:

  1. Organise to buy and montage two doors on Zorka’s house, and to see how much we can make her place of living more comfortable during the winter.
  2. Organise an action of additional works which are urgent in the shelter with competent people.

In this way ACT Foundation and Asylum “Bella” have become friends with the same goal – to give value to life.

Please donate at the following bank accounts at Hypo Alpe Adria Bank:

In dinars (RSD): 165-29869-66

In other currency: 202-40085-59


Donation of blankets and terry on 28th December, 2013

Like we agreed and promised, we collected the blankets and terry and immediately took it to the asylum “Bella”. This time the beautiful black though unpredictable dog was without a leg. Several days before a train ran over it, so they had to amputate it, because only the remnants of it had been hanging. It was well sewed and it heals well so in case somebody needs a veterinarian, Zorka recommends the vet office NS Vet in Novi Sad.

On the other hand, the woman herself has a problem as her mother had undergone a surgery so she is sometimes in the asylum and sometimes she has to visit her.

Right today, when she needs more helping hands out of nowhere appeared volunteers, two wonderful handsome young and strong lads. One of them is Danilo from Nis, his girlfriend is here, so there’s one more reason and the other is Ceda from Zajecar. They give a beautiful example where the youth can spend a weekend ACTively and usefully. Regarding the fact that Zorka’s workers are more non-workers as she complained, though she pays them, this job being done that cannot wait is a real gift.

While we were talking, at one moment I told Zorka that I noticed how much strength it takes, considering the fact she is in isolation with lazy or irresponsible around her, that she did not became overflowed by lethargy of the people she spends time with. “Argh, “I weep… right several days ago I wept.” At that very moment, our ACT Team member Alexandar, like in a magician’s trick, took a book out of his jacket, the book by Dusan Radovic  “About Weeping”!!!? and he had bought the book the previous day and took it with him only to read it if there happens to be some waiting along the way. Should I describe the amazement and surprise of the woman who had been studying literature, and had just mentioned a word which is the title of the book gifted? Gorgeous coincidence and sinchronicity.