Bobi, the dog who didn't need to die

Published in About Animals

Bobi roamed free in Jelsa for several years. His sudden death carries a warning.

Bobi, Jelsa's free spirit Bobi, Jelsa's free spirit Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Jelsa has always tolerated a select number of dogs who have the freedom of the streets. Dog lovers make them welcome while others tolerate them, provided they are polite, well behaved, don't disturb the peace, and don't make a mess. Occasionally the roamers have no owners, but are treated as belonging to the place. Mostly, like Bobi, they have an owner, but are still allowed the freedom to live their lives as they choose. Some, like the beautiful retriever-cross Lord, patrol the little town with an air of authority.

Bobi playing with a new friend on Jelsa's main square, Christmas Eve 2016. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

In the main, there is little aggression among the male dogs who are free. When they meet, they are likely to have a good play until they get tired and go their separate ways.

Bobi playing with Abby in Jelsa's cafe Toni, December 2016. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Bobi was a gentle soul who made friends very easily with two-leggeds and four-leggeds alike.

Bobi with young friend at Jelsa's Karnevol, February 2016. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

He would often find his friends in Jelsa's cafes once he had done his rounds of the local park and Jelsa's further reaches. With his two-legged friends he would sit quietly close by, and be grateful for any attention, affection or doggy treat which came his way. Four-leggeds would be a chance to play.

Polli (left on lead) meets Bobi on Jelsa's Pjaca. Photo: Susanne Pieper

He was especially pleased to meet Polli, who looked as though she could be his younger sister. Polli is a rescue dog who found a good home through an Austrian animal charity, and now divides her time between Vienna and Hvar.

Abby used to get the wrong end of the stick. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

His special friend Abby was a dominant spirit who apparently believed in female lib for canines When they played together, she would invariably finish up trying to mount Bobi, and he never once snapped at her that it was his role as a red-blooded male to do that to her. No, he was way too well-mannered to aggravate a female, even in self-defence. Bobi was privileged to be Abby's friend, as in general, unlike Bobi, she was very picky about who she consorted with - whether two-legged or four-legged. He was just a scruffy street dog, by contrast with her well-groomed patrician elegance. It just goes to show what a special dog Bobi was.

Bobi, waiting for a girl-friend outside her house, February 2017. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Bobi was a very red-blooded male, and, being free at all times, he was always where the action was whenever a bitch came into heat anywhere around Jelsa. He would wait patiently for his latest girl-friend outside her home. He used to get very dirty, with his coat all matted, but it seems that just made him all the more attractive. Every summer, his two-legged best friend Irena would come to the island, and set about changing his ways with regular grooming and the special foods which he loved. Bobi would follow her to work, and stay close to her for most of the day so that they would return home together. Only love, or rather lust, altered this regular pattern.

Bobi, February 2017. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

The summer of 2017 started just like the previous years. In July, Bobi went courting, returning home at intervals for a little sleep, food and water, before returning to the object of his desire. This pattern was repeated over several days up to Wednesday 12th July. Then it changed. When he returned home on Thursday 13th July, Bobi was clearly unwell. He was listless and could not eat or drink normally. The next day, when his condition was worse, he was taken to the vet, who pronounced that he was 'just suffering from exhaustion', and would get over it. On Saturday, the third day of his sudden decline, Bobi could barely walk the few steps to the local park. He could neither eat nor drink. The next day, Sunday 16th July, Bobi just lay still and died.

What happened?

During the night between Wednesday 12th and Thursday 13th July, the streets around the Jelsa Council region were sprayed with insecticide. To be more exact, insecticides.The system of dispersing a poisonous mist into the environment from a hand-held or vehicle-mounted spray gun is known as 'Fogging' in English. Eco Hvar considers the practice flawed and dangerous. Jelsa's local Council has ignored our expressed concerns over several years.

'Fogging' from moving vehicles has been practised for some years in countries where Dengue Fever and West Nile Fever from mosquito bites are endemic. A very small concentration of poison is used, and people are encouraged to allow the mist to penetrate their homes. In the Solomon Islands, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has assured citizens that the practice is safe. The spraying there is usually done when mosquitoes are said to be most active, in the early morning and early evening.

'Fogging' overnight in Hvar Town. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Dengue Fever and West Nile Fever are rare in Dalmatia. I have never heard of a case on Hvar. 'Fogging' is done according to opposite principles from those described by WHO. It is always done overnight, and spreads over roadsides, including places where there are unlikely to be mosquitoes. People are warned to stay indoors and shut their shutters if they have any respiratory problems. Bee-keepers should shut their hives. Why the difference? Because rather than using a small concentration of one pyrethroid insecticide, each year the concentration of poisons has been increased. In 2017, four potent poisons were combined in a deadly cocktail consisting of highly toxic components:

       Cipex.  Active ingredient Cypermethrin, a synthetic pyrethroid known to be highly toxic to bees, cats, water insects and fish, less to birds. It can be toxic to many animals, including dogs. The effects of the inert substances it is mixed with are often unknown. It can cause various symptoms in humans, and is classified as a possible carcinogen in the United States.
       Microfly. Active ingredient also Cypermethrin. Microfly is supposed to be sprayed on to target surfaces, not into the air.
       Permex. Active ingredients Permethrin and Tetramethrin. Permethrin: Highly toxic to bees, fish, wildlife and cats. Can affect the immune and endocrine systems in humans. Classified as a possible carcinogen in the United States. Tetramethrin: Highly toxic to bees, fish and aquatic organisms; possible carcinogen in humans; normally used in small amounts in restricted areas (American EPA re-registration document).
       Muhomor. Active ingredient Azamethiphos, which is not included in the EU list of approved insecticides. Highly toxic to birds.
 
Bobi gave much to many. Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Hazards unknown

Obviously poisons are mixed into cocktails, as in this case, to enhance their toxic effects. In the literature, one can find studies which detail how the mixtures can be constructed, and what the toxic effects are on specific target victims in the laboratory. You won't find studies showing collateral ill-effects on humans, animals and the environment. Those experiments are being done every time a 'Fogging' vehicle comes round dosing you and your surroundings with whatever killer cocktail of poisons have been chosen for the occasion.

Did Bobi die of 'Fogging'?

The evidence is strong. Bobi was a normal healthy dog up to Wednesday 12th July, behaving according to his usual patterns. He was out on the streets on the night when the 'Fogging' took place. The next day he was unwell. He had no symptoms of ingestion poisoning or canine illness for the vet to identify. His symptoms matched some of those described for pyrethroid poisoning. His decline into death was unrelenting and relatively quick.

Bobi's death, not in vain? Photo: Vivian Grisogono

Bobi's legacy.

Bobi had a good life, and is mourned by his many friends. The circumstances of his death might make people notice that 'Fogging' in its current form in our region is being conducted in a dangerous, unacceptable fashion. The practice has no proven benefits. Its potential ill-effects are obvious.If enough people take note, especially among the decision-makers, they might act to stop it. If they do, Bobi's death will not have been in vain.

© Vivian Grisogono MA(Oxon) 2017


You are here: Home about animals Bobi, the dog who didn't need to die

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Activists spend seven days occupying BP rig in Cromarty Firth, leading to 14 arrests

    Greenpeace has ended its protest against BP drilling for oil in the North Sea by handing in “people’s climate injunctions” at the company’s headquarters.

    Greenpeace protesters spent nearly seven days occupying an oil rig rented by BP in the Cromarty Firth in northern Scotland last week, leading to the arrests of 14 activists, including three photographers hired by the pressure group.

    Continue reading...

  • Concern grow over ammonia particles from fertiliser and bioaerosol from intensive farms

    We think of the countryside as being a place of fresh air. Each weekend thousands of us leave our cities to hike or cycle in rural areas or simply to enjoy time in nature. Increasing attention is being given, however, to air pollution from farming. Ammonia from fertiliser and slurry mixes with air pollution from cities, traffic and industry to add to the particle pollution that plagues many parts of the world. It is estimated that halving ammonia from farming could avoid about 52,000 premature deaths from air pollution across Europe each year and 3,000 in the UK.

    Increasing attention is also being paid to bioaerosol from intensive farming. In animal houses these are tiny particles and dust from the animals themselves, their food, bedding and waste. They can also include fungi, bacteria and pollen. A recent review by Imperial College and Public Health England found evidence of respiratory problems in farm workers and raised concerns about exposure for people living close to intensive livestock farms, including some evidence of increased asthma in children. Bioaerosol concerns mean that composting facilities need to be at least 250 metres from UK homes and schools, but farms can be nearer and only require assessment if they are closer than 100 metres.

    Continue reading...

  • Event will take place on 22 September across 18 boroughs, with road closures and events

    Sadiq Khan has announced plans to implement London’s biggest car-free day to date, closing 12.3 miles (20km) of roads in the centre of the capital in September.

    Roads will be closed for the event around London Bridge, Tower Bridge and much of the City of London to help tackle the capital’s air pollution crisis, which kills thousands of people each year and leaves two million – including 400,000 children – living in areas with illegally dirty air.

    Continue reading...

  • MELTDOWN – a visualisation of climate change has opened at Natural History Museum of Vienna. Created by the climate crisis charity Project Pressure, the exhibition on vanishing glaciers uses art to inspire action and behavioural change. Unlike wildfires, flooding and other weather events, the retreat of the world’s glaciers can be attributed to global warming. To incite action, Project Pressure has created a carbon footprint calculator in collaboration with ClimateHero to learn how carbon-intense the users’ lifestyle is.

    Continue reading...

  • MPs launch assembly plan but environmental activists say its conclusions must be binding

    A citizens’ assembly on the climate emergency will take place this autumn to explore the fastest and fairest ways to end the UK’s carbon emissions.

    Six House of Commons select committees announced the assembly on Thursday. It is the second of the three demands made by the Extinction Rebellion protest group to be addressed.

    Continue reading...

  • There are only about 30 north Pacific right whales left after hunters nearly wiped out the slow-moving animals

    Marine biologists for the first time have recorded singing by one of the rarest whales on the planet, the north Pacific right whale.

    Researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) used moored acoustic recorders to capture repeated patterns of calls made by male north Pacific right whales.

    Continue reading...

  • Ice losses indicate ‘devastating’ future for region and 1 billion people who depend on it for water

    The melting of Himalayan glaciers has doubled since the turn of the century, with more than a quarter of all ice lost over the last four decades, scientists have revealed. The accelerating losses indicate a “devastating” future for the region, upon which a billion people depend for regular water.

    The scientists combined declassified US spy satellite images from the mid-1970s with modern satellite data to create the first detailed, four-decade record of ice along the 2,000km (1,200-mile) mountain chain.

    Continue reading...

  • Poland, Hungary and Czech Republic refuse to sign up to text that activists already viewed as too vague

    A trio of central European countries have blocked the EU from inching closer to a net-zero carbon emissions target for 2050.

    European leaders meeting in Brussels sparred over the EU’s role in tackling the unfolding climate emergency, which threatens to significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat, poverty and destruction of wildlife around the world.

    Continue reading...

  • Mass migration back to UK waylaid by stormy conditions and lack of nesting places

    The number of swifts that returned to Britain from their wintering grounds in Africa this spring was the lowest since records began, with poor weather in the Mediterranean delaying their arrival by two weeks. Experts fear the recent wet weather will further hit their numbers. Swift numbers in Britain have fallen by more than 50% since 1995.

    More than 100 walks, talks and visits to urban areas to witness the swift’s aerial “screaming parties” will be held this week to raise awareness of the plight of this unique migratory bird.

    Continue reading...

  • Shell, BP and Centrica have talked of backing EU emissions target but withheld support

    The UK’s largest energy companies have withheld support for a legally binding target to reduce the EU’s emissions to net zero by 2050, even while publicly backing the plans.

    Royal Dutch Shell, BP and British Gas’s owner, Centrica, have all publicly thrown their weight behind more ambitious EU emissions cuts, but none supported the Brussels proposals for a tougher target in an official consultation.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds