Ulubele demands the cancellation of the Latvian Radio 1 program “Open files” on 28.09.2023, a public apology and the prosecution of the creators of the program

Ulubele’s principle has always been openness – the gates of the shelter are open to visitors and we are ready to answer all questions. Unfortunately, during the preparation of the program, the journalist of “Open files” Baiba Kļava neither asked questions about the topics mentioned therein in a biased manner, nor did ask them at all, or blatantly ignored the received answers, presenting the previously prepared opinion as a sensationalism.

This type of journalism is a very big threat to the information space of Latvian society. If the public media, which is supported by taxpayers’ money, using its power and authority, speculates with information, uses facts in a biased manner, takes comments out of context, thus deliberately misleading the public and defaming the charity organization Ulubele, which has been operating in Latvia for almost 20 years, it is a big step back in the creation of quality information space.

What were the most blatant conclusions of the program, which we examined at the October 4 press conference:

1) “Most of the donated money was spent on legal services; does not reveal how exactly it was used.” We could not reveal, because unfortunately no question was asked about it. However, this is not a secret, because public benefit organizations have a strict reporting system and the SRS controls it. Every year, we submit reports to the SRS, indicating each company, NGO, and individual that has provided support, as well as the amount of the donation.

2) “Ulubele bought 2 new cars with the money of donors last year.” The journalist, however, avoids the fact that one car was purchased by the social enterprise Ulubele with the funds of the Altum grant, which only allows the purchase of new, not used, cars. The second car is leased. Cars are necessary for the operation of Ulubele, incl. for transporting animals.

3) “Donors’ funds flow from Ulubele to the Animal Police (dzivniekupolicija.lv)” The Animal Police is neither a state nor municipal structural unit, nor a militarized institution. The Animal Police is an establishment of Ulubele with the aim of protecting the interests of animals and we do it in a variety of ways – both in cooperation with state and local government institutions (providing services, participating in the improvement of regulatory acts) and virtually (we inform, advise, ensure the operation of the portal for lost and found animal advertisements), both practically (we help animals in distress).

4) Between 2014 and 2022, Ulubele received almost one million euros from the municipality. Received both – providing a service in return and accounting for the use of funds. The amount sounds impressive only if you mention these 8 years together, but how much is it from the shelter’s survival budget, dividing it by years, months and days and the animals living in the shelter, we explain at the press conference.

It should be mentioned that the journalist pulled out 2.5-year-old “files” as a sensation, when the Bureaucracy Combating Center (BCC) of the RD conducted an inspection based on the complaints of the association “Jugla’s Animal Group” and the Association of Latvian Veterinarians, where there was a blatant slander about the increase in the number of animals paid for by the Riga City Council . Sowing doubts about Ulubele’s integrity, this and other unproven facts were masked with the word “probable” in the 2021 BCC report, but the journalist is already presenting it as a finding after 2.5 years. It is significant that the program emphasized the BCC report, but the journalist ignored the important fact that Ulubele was forced to sue RD for 9 years and in March of this year the court recognized RD’s violations for illegal non-execution of procurement. The court verdict was sent to her.

5) “About the homeless Vladimir’s dog, Gerda, who was returned from the shelter to him, dog registered in a gas tank. A volunteer – Attorney-in –law of Ulubele appeals to the police for stealing a dog; asking for money for puppies.” This saga is well known to many animal lovers, so the bias and one-sided presentation of the facts at the level of “one aunt said” is unforgivable.


The engaging LR program shows that two ideologies are fighting in Latvia: Ulubele and all other supporters of no-kill, where every life has value, as defined by the preamble of the Animal Law versus “redundant animals must be eliminated” without sentiment for life.

With each change of the leadership of the Riga City Council, changes in laws or regulations of the LV Council of Ministers, smear campaigns against Ulubele are openly prepared. Currently, the revision of the law is open, and the Riga City Council has also announced the current procurement of cat accommodation and care services in Riga. This time the procurement regulations have been prepared in such a way that only one shelter – the Jugla animal protection group “Labās mājas” – meets its requirements.

In 2014, the Association Animal Boarding House (dzīvnieku pansija) Ulubele filed a lawsuit against the Riga City Council for recovery of damages: Ulubele had won two procurements organized by the Riga City Council for the provision of accommodation and care services for trapped and injured dogs and cats, but the Riga City Council, ignoring the results of the procurements, illegally purchased in 2014 the mentioned services from the association “Jugla’s animal protection group” (animal shelter “Labās mājas”).

The administrative district court recognized that the Riga City Council has acted illegally and with the judgment of January 9, 2023, recovered damages in the amount of EUR 20,146.10 from the Riga City Council in favor of Ulubele.


In 2005, the association Dzivnieku pansija Ulubele was created with a completely new attitude towards life, animal protection and welfare in Latvia at that time: no-kill. In simple words, we fight for every animal’s life as if it were our own. And since 2010, when the association took over the shelter territory of Līči from the “Jugla Animal Protection Group”, which at that time was a forest area surrounded by barbed wire, overgrown with bushes, where the entrance was closed to visitors, enormous progress has been made:

  • well-equipped 3.5 ha territory of the shelter
  • built 105 specialized aviaries for dogs (with meshes that ensure no digging)
  • 1/3 of the main building has been reconstructed, where a modern pet reception block has been installed – upon entering, it was windowless and in a repulsive state of disrepair
  • an established animal garden with a building and warm prepared rooms to house cats that are not chosen for adoption for a long time
  • a farm hangar complex was built with 9 spacious warehouses for inventory, feed and equipment placement
  • well-equipped area for volunteer activities and recreation of all guests and employees, public events
  • a tent was built for the children’s humanity school during the summer period
  • 2 vet examination rooms and an surgery room have been created so that animals do not have to be transported to other clinics for standard vet procedures
  • a 1.8 km long access road to Ulubele has been built
  • purchased a physiotherapy pool for animals with mobility impairments
  • professional grooming equipment was purchased to clean the coats of shelter residents
  • reconstructed and filter-equipped water borehole for quality water for animals

The Ulubele collective entered with fresh humanistic ideas, opened the gates of the shelter to the public, did not allow mass euthanasia there; we started the Senior Program, Humanity School and Humanity Lessons for children, volunteer training and involvement – thanks to the broad support of the public, we have created a whole community that believes in and supports no-kill principles. On the other hand, Ulubele’s great achievements are disliked to the point of hatred by three organizations, more precisely by three individuals from these organizations:

To Kārkliņa Astrida from the shelter “Labās mājas” of the “Jugla protection group”, who previously farmed in the territory of Līči;

Klučniece Vija from the Latvian Cynological Federation and

Konopore Lita from the Latvian Veterinary Association.

There has been a clash of opposing ideologies between Ulubele and the aforementioned three persons and their folloers since day one. Unfortunately, the care of breeding pets has been presented and lobbied for a long time as an innocent hobby of free time, without the burdens of rules and regulations.


4 euros are calculated for the maintenance of one animal per day. Without 3 euros, the animal cannot survive at all, it would also be the basic maintenance expenses of the animal and the shelter: 1,500 euros per day = 45,000 per month = 540,000 euros per year, and they are almost 70% of Ulubele’s expenses.

What is covered by an additional 1 euro, which is another 15,000-20,000 per month or 30%?

Issues of various materials

– starting from work tools and construction materials, but also printed materials, educational handouts; building reconstructions, repairs and territory improvements, etc. Legal and public education services, public opinion and legislative change services in total make up less than 10% of the expenses.

! However, it is thanks to this 10% that Ulubele has become an opinion leader and the Ulubele team has achieved changes in public opinion and legislation.

In order to achieve this, various measures are taken – from dog chipping, public opinion polls, voluntary work guidelines, court hearings, discussions, virtual surveys and ending with PVD (veterinary service) inspections, legal submissions, responses, appeals, legal consultations, procurement monitoring and procurement preparation.

We are both a shelter and an animal protection organization. Annual report forms for Public Benefit Organizations (PBOs) are different from regular annual reports. Organizations that perform both public and economic activities fill in the appendices of the annual report tables. The expenses of economic and public benefit activities are separated in connection with VAT accounting. We have contacted the SRS and agreed on clarifying the relevant sections of the annual report.

Major achievements of Ulubele and supporters:

⃰ In Latvia, a state register for the registration of pets (LDC – Lauksaimniecības datu bāze) has been introduced, in which all dogs must be registered, while chipping/registration of other pets is voluntary for the time being

⃰ we try to achieve the norm in Animal Protection law that persons punished for cruelty to animals are at least prohibited from keeping animals

⃰ established court practice, when animal rescue organizations (NGO) recognized as the victim in rescuing the owner’s cat from cruelty to him. Making the guilty person compensate ARO for all the expenses of animal treatment

⃰ More and more members of society believe that an animal cannot be property, but is a sentient being. An animal cannot be the object of law. It must be a legal entity

⃰ Every life is valuable. All pets that are born have the right to be cared for, loved and needed. This is the mission of a pet in this human world. Therefore, it is necessary to eliminate the cause of the overproduction of pets – uncontrolled breeding, and not to complicate the work of rescuers with countless bureaucratic norms.

The sensational announcement of the Latvia Radio program that 2 new cars were bought last year with the money of donors is incorrect!

The specifics of Ulubele’s work are unimaginable without a car park. Vehicles are used to transport animals from the location to the shelter, as well as to/from clinics. As far as possible, we gradually change the cars, because they wear out, go out of order, but the number of large calls every day does not allow us to repair any of the cars for a long time.

One car was purchased by the social enterprise Ulubele with Altum grant funds, which allows only the purchase of new and not used cars (the journalist was informed about this). The second Nissan car is leased using a leasing service with a term of 5 years and a monthly fee of 500 EUR. The Nissan car has a comfortable and wide trunk, in which it is safer to transport animals, moreover, with low fuel consumption (6.5l/ 100km).

There is an economic justification for such a decision, as the previously used 2005 Honda required very large investments in repairs and had a high fuel consumption.


The journalist refers to “I spoke to a woman in the tunnel”, while the person addressed says “three years ago, Volodya and a dog were sitting here…” The program does not take into account the totality of Ulubele’s actions, does not show a true and complete picture – one dog that was returned to its owner is selectively chosen, the complicated fate, moreover, based on “one aunt said”. One case out of many thousands is plucked out and highlighted, generalizing it and once again casting doubt on Ulubele’s integrity.

The fate of Gerda and her owner is well known to a wide circle of people – homeless Vladimir and his dogs were known and supported by many passers-by in the station tunnel for several years, but Ulubele helped with the sterilization of this owner’s 3 dogs and 2 cats even before Gerda, we supported them with food as much as possible.

However, Ulubele’s opinion and precise explanation of this saga, including why the dog was registered at the address Lucavsalas iela 1, were ignored. Apparently, did not correspond to the previously created story. Vladimir had been to Ulubele more than once, knew both the shelter and the volunteers who helped him. All 3 of Vladimir’s dogs came to Ulubele again in the summer of 2022, when he was evicted from the garden house in Lucavsala. Gerda was adopted and lives happily in Saulkrasti, but the 2 oldest dogs – Rich and Ronda – still live in Ulubele.

In the program, the Ulubele volunteer is very incorrectly called an Attorney-at-Law of Ulubele, even though journalist Baiba Kļava has personally spoken with this person, asked a question and received the answer that she is not an Attorney at all.

The Public Electronic Media Council’s Editorial Guidelines and Codes of Ethics require that relevant and competent opinions be included when creating content on a particular topic.

If we look at the invited radio program experts, we can see that “Delna” has not handed over the annual report for the year 2022 and for the year 2021, it has been leisurely handed over in January of this year. In addition, this organization is supported by state grants.

While the “Mežavairogi” animal shelter is an organization about which countless reports can be found in the public space about non-compliant welfare requirements for animal conditions: violations both regarding dead animals stored in open containers and tax debts (there are prohibitions), as well as unpaid debts from private individuals since 2015. annual and security bans. Annual reports are not submitted to the institution at all.


To maintain the no-kill principle, Ulubele is an NGO that is completely dependent on donors.

In the distribution of total revenues, only ¼ part is financing provided by local governments and ¾ part is donations.

The number of supporters of Ulubele is considerable.

Every year, we submit reports to the SRS, indicating each company, NGO, and individual that has provided support, as well as the amount of the donation.

Ulubele greatly respects each donor’s stance on publicity. There are supporters who want it. But most donors, especially private individuals, do not want to announce their identity and the amount of their donation.

The reporting procedure of Ulubele for each of the donors who want it is the basis of respect, trust and long-term cooperation. Ulubele always fulfills its commitments and accounts for its income/expenditure to its donors and the state.

No one has the right, contrary to the personal data protection regulation, to obtain, research and especially create publications, reflections, slanders using the data of 2000 private individuals, which contain personal codes and information about the amount of donations.

The actions of the “Open Files” journalist in obtaining and publishing personal data about Ulubele donors is a violation of personal data processing. In addition, the journalist was warned before the program that the data of natural persons in the database of the Register of Companies was placed illegally and that the legal liability may arise for the illegal processing of data of natural persons.

Ulubele does not see any justification why the journalist had to make public the identity and personal data of an individual donor who has not given his consent to make the data public. Such a journalist’s behavior is a gross violation of the General Data Protection Regulation, as no public interest can be seen in the publication of data that would justify its publication for journalistic purposes.

Sowing doubts in society and donors about the transparency of the use of Ulubele’s donations without concrete facts, at the same time singling out individual donors in a tendentiously unattractive light and giving hints about the origin of the donated funds, is an unacceptable and unforgivable practice for Latvian public media.