ECO HVAR: AIMS AND ACTIVITIES OF THE CHARITY

bee rasketa blossom

Environment

Eco Hvar's aims for environmental protection, and related articles.

Read more...

maria lidija

Health

Eco Hvar's ideas for encouraging positive health, plus related articles

Read more...

jackie appeal

Animals

Eco Hvar's aims for protecting animals and improving animal welfare, plus related articles

Read more...

Animal Rescue System Urgently Needed

Published in Animals

The law on the Protection of Animals (Zakon o zaštiti životinja) is relatively recent, dating back only to 2006. It is based on European Union directives dating from 1983, with several updates to the present time. The Croatian law was updated and amended in 2013. When this final text was debated and accepted by Parliamentarians in February 2013, there was a strong recommendation that public awareness of the protection of animals had to be raised. 

Croatian Labour member Branko Vukšić stated that bringing the Croatian law into line with European directives on paper was not enough to guarantee that practices would not remain 'Balkan'. He defined the Croatian law on the Protection of Animals as the most contravened in Croatia ("najgaženijim u Hrvatskoj"). In a country where so many laws are respected more in the breach than the practice, that is damning. Sadly, Mr. Vukšić's statement was not political rhetoric but the exact truth.

Voluntary organizations for the protection of animals, such as the registered charity (udruga) Noina Arka (Noah's Ark) and the Zaklada za zaštitu životinja Split (The Split Animal Protection Foundation), rely heavily on public support, but the amount available is not comparable to other European countries. For domestic pets, there are plenty of regulations governing how people should keep them according to the law (Pravilno držanje životinja). But ensuring the welfare of the animals is woefully neglected. If an animal is mistreated, one has the right to call in the inspectors, who will come and examine the situation and take whatever action they think is appropriate according to current laws. For Hvar, the inspectors have to come from Split. Dogs can be removed from the owners or put down. The owners might be prosecuted. However, prosecutions have been few, and even fewer have resulted in conviction. In the Split Civil Court, for instance, the twenty cases of cruelty to animals lodged between January 2006 and 2013 were dismissed as unfounded. The organizations for animal protection in Split have been justifiably concerned, not to say outraged. It is hoped that as the law has been tightened since January 2013 to allow for one-year prison sentences for those found guilty of animal cruelty, prosecutions will be prepared more carefully and offenders will be judged more stringently.

A major problem is the lack of adequate animal shelters. There are far too few around Croatia, and most have difficulty providing conditions according to the law. For some time there were two shelters in Split which served a wide area, and which were the nearest available to Hvar. They were both closed down by Inspectors in 2011, despite the protests of animal-lovers. The animals in the shelters were transported to the refuge in Šibenik, which was now the closest to Hvar. Any animals which did not find homes within 60 days were put down. Dr. Zdenka Filipović is a veterinary surgeon in Split who ran one of the two Split centres which were closed. Following the closure, she continued to help find homes for unwanted animals, and set up the Split Animal Protection Foundation (Zaklada za zaštitu životinja Split) with the primary aim of opening another rescue centre based on a 'No-Kill' policy which would ensure that animals in the home were not put down after 60 days, but would be kept until they found a home or died naturally. This would be the first of its kind in Croatia. Building the home in Kaštel Sućurac just outside Split was started in 2013, but the opening was delayed when the Inspector refused to issue the necessary Usage Permit on the grounds that various aspects of the building did not conform to the legal norms.

At present, it seems that animal rescue centres in Croatia face a variety of problems:

  • there are too few
  • they are overloaded with the numbers of unwanted animals
  • they often cannot provide satisfactory conditions for the rescued animals
  • if they fail to comply with the legal standards and requirements, they are closed down

It is certainly right for the Inspectors to close down centres which do not maintain proper standards for conditions and care. But what this means for the animals involved is death in most cases. More support is needed for the existing rescue centres to provide everything needed according to the law. And we urgently need a national movement to set up adequate animal rescue centres throughout Croatia.

Unwanted animals on Hvar may be left to roam or killed. An owner on Hvar who wants to abandon an animal is obviously not going to spend time and money taking it to the mainland to the shelter in Šibenik. Puppies and kittens are often left close to camp sites or holiday homes during the summer season, or outside the schools at other times. Some of them find good homes and survive.

Sara was abandoned with several other siblings somewhere in the hills above Jelsa. They were probably a whole litter of unwanted puppies. They wandered around the countryside for days before most of them found homes. Sara, a sort-of German Shepherd - well, she almost looks the part -  thrived and grew from being a small bundle of fur into a fine, happy animal. Several years on, she divides her time between Hvar and Sardinia.

Billy was abandoned in the village of Pitve in July 2009. He tried to make friends with some visitors, who fed him for a few days. However, being a young dog, probably less than a year old, he loved to play with shoes and other personal items, so they quickly grew tired of him. From his behaviour he had probably been in a family with young children. He may have been dumped because he grew to a big size and therefore became expensive to feed, or because he was destructive in the house, never having been properly trained. He was an exceptionally affectionate dog who obviously craved human love. He found a good home in Zavala, but his new owner could not control him when he was out and about. Fortunately, during the summer season some German tourists saw Billy and fell in love with him. He went off happily to a new home in Germany with a large garden and plenty of countryside to romp in. 

Cats are abandoned even more frequently than dogs. Nana the kitten was found with her little brother and sister near the cemetery in Hvar Town by Marina and Rihard, animal lovers from Italy, in July 2012. They brought them to Pitve, having already discovered on a previous visit two years before that some of the villagers were animal lovers. The three quickly settled in to their new environment and decided that the safest place to stay when they were not being fed was inside a drystone wall.

That remained their home until they grew too big, when they discovered the other possible feeding stations and boltholes available to them. When they were old enough, Nana and her sister were sterilized. All three grew to adulthood, but sadly Nana's brother disappeared without trace and her sister was killed on the road by a careless driver going too fast through the village. Nana went missing during the summer, raising fears that she too had died, but she re-appeared after the holiday season, so she had obviously taken advantage of some kindhearted visitors to feed elsewhere, as cats do.

Individuals on Hvar who love animals do as much as is humanly possible to help the waifs and strays. There is obviously an urgent need to establish a system for caring for them and finding them homes. Hvar cannot solve this problem in isolation. An efficient animal welfare system must be established throughout Croatia. The movement needs to start at the top, with central government leading the way and encouraging support from local administrations.

© Vivian Grisogono 2013

 

You are here: Home Animals Animal Rescue System Urgently Needed

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Cactus flowers, a former circus bear and a baby elephant are among this week’s pick of images from the natural world

    Continue reading...

  • Research programme will send aerosol injections into the earth’s upper atmosphere to study the risks and benefits of a future solar tech-fix for climate change

    US scientists are set to send aerosol injections 20km up into the earth’s stratosphere in the world’s biggest solar geoengineering programme to date, to study the potential of a future tech-fix for global warming.

    Continue reading...

  • Malaysian activist Bill Kayong fought to save forest lands from logging and oil palm development. Like a troubling number of environmental campaigners around the world, he paid the highest price, reports Yale Environment 360

    Environmentalists at risk: read part one in this series

    It was 8.20am on 21 June 2016. Bill Kayong, an up-and-coming political activist in Miri, a coastal oil town in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, was 15 minutes into his morning commute, waiting in his pickup truck at a traffic light across from a shopping mall. Suddenly, two bullets shattered the side window and struck him in the head, killing him instantly.

    Kayong was one of dozens of people killed while defending environmental and human rights causes in 2016. His life was taken just one day after a report from the human rights group Global Witness revealed that the previous year had been “the worst on record for killings of land and environmental defenders”, with 185 people around the world killed while taking a stand against development projects ranging from dams, to mines, to logging, to agricultural plantations.

    Continue reading...

  • Collection will help scientists piece together a large branch of insects’ family tree and be a resource for scientists who study natural controls on the environment

    In two rooms of Charles and Lois O’Brien’s modest home in Tucson, Arizona, more than a million insects – a collection worth an estimated $10m – rest in tombs of glass and homemade shelving. They come from every continent and corner of the world, gathered over almost six decades; a bug story that began as a love story.

    This week, the O’Briens, both octogenarians, announced that they would donate their collection, one of the world’s largest private holdings, to Arizona State University.

    Continue reading...

  • Meteorologists have consulted the International Cloud Atlas since the 19th century – now, updated with crowd-sourced images and newly categorised formations such as wave-like asperitas, it’s going online. Readers have been sharing their images via GuardianWitness

    Continue reading...

  • President ushers in ‘new era of American energy policy’ Friday as environmental activists denounce revived oil pipeline as a ‘disaster for the planet’

    Donald Trump announced a “new era of American energy policy” as he signed the presidential permit allowing TransCanada to build the Keystone XL pipeline.

    “It’s going to be an incredible pipeline. Greatest technology known to man. Or woman. And frankly, we’re very proud of it,” said Trump in the Oval Office on Friday morning.

    Continue reading...

  • Exclusive: Draft regulations seen by the Guardian reveal the European commission wants to prohibit the insecticides that cause ‘acute risks to bees’

    The world’s most widely used insecticides would be banned from all fields across Europe under draft regulations from the European commission, seen by the Guardian.

    The documents are the first indication that the powerful commission wants a complete ban and cite “high acute risks to bees”. A ban could be in place this year if the proposals are approved by a majority of EU member states.

    Continue reading...

  • A plan to halve carbon emissions every decade, while green energy continues to double every five years, provides a simple but rigorous roadmap to tackle climate change, scientists say

    A new “carbon law”, modelled on Moore’s law in computing, has been proposed as a roadmap for beating climate change. It sees carbon emissions halving every decade, while green energy continues to double every five years.

    The carbon law’s proponents are senior climate-change scientists and they argue it provides a simple, broad but quantitative plan that could drive governments and businesses to make urgently needed carbon cuts, particularly at a time when global warming is falling off the global political agenda.

    Continue reading...

  • Extent of ice over North pole has fallen to a new wintertime low, for the third year in a row, as climate change drives freakish weather

    The extent of Arctic ice has fallen to a new wintertime low, as climate change drives freakishly high temperatures in the polar regions.

    The ice cap grows during the winter months and usually reaches its maximum in early March. But the 2017 maximum was 14.4m sq km, lower than any year in the 38-year satellite record, according to researchers at the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre (NSIDC) and Nasa.

    Continue reading...

  • Massive fine reflects change in sentencing as previously low penalties failed to deter water firms from polluting England’s rivers and beaches

    Thames Water has been hit with a record fine of £20.3m after huge leaks of untreated sewage into the Thames and its tributaries and on to land, including the popular Thames path. The prolonged leaks led to serious impacts on residents, farmers, and wildlife, killing birds and fish.

    The fine imposed on Wednesday was for numerous offences in 2013 and 2014 at sewage treatment works at Aylesbury, Didcot, Henley and Little Marlow, and a large sewage pumping station at Littlemore.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds