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

  • Farmers must be incentivised to tackle decline in biodiversity, says environment secretary at launch of parliamentary soil body

    The UK is 30 to 40 years away from “the fundamental eradication of soil fertility” in parts of the country, the environment secretary Michael Gove has warned.

    “We have encouraged a type of farming which has damaged the earth,” Gove told the parliamentary launch of the Sustainable Soils Alliance (SSA). “Countries can withstand coups d’état, wars and conflict, even leaving the EU, but no country can withstand the loss of its soil and fertility.

    Continue reading...

  • Glyphosate is found in 60% of UK bread and environmentalists welcome a ban but industry warn of uproar among farmers if herbicide is phased out

    A pivotal EU vote this week could revoke the licence for the most widely used herbicide in human history, with fateful consequences for global agriculture and its regulation.

    Glyphosate is a weedkiller so pervasive that its residues were recently found in 45% of Europe’s topsoil – and in the urine of three quarters of Germans tested, at five times the legal limit for drinking water.

    Continue reading...

  • Photographer Tim Flach’s latest book Endangered, with text by zoologist Jonathan Baillie, offers a powerful visual record of threatened animals and ecosystems facing the harshest of challenges

    Tim Flach sees his Hasselblad H4D-60 camera as a means to its end: capturing the character and emotions of an animal. Until now his interest has been in the way humans shape animals, but in his new book, Endangered, he poses the question of what these animals, and their potential disappearance, mean to us.

    Twenty months of shooting and six months of assembling has resulted in a collection of more than 180 pictures. “In some cases we put up a black background in a zoo or a natural reserve, in others it meant being underwater with hippos or great white sharks.”

    Continue reading...

  • The 33 islands of Kiribati, a remote and low-lying nation in the Pacific Ocean, are under threat from climate change. But the islanders have not given up hope

    Kiribati is one of the most isolated countries in the world. As you fly in to the main island of South Tarawa, located less than 100 kms from the equator, a precariously thin strip of sand and green materialises out of the ocean.

    On one side, a narrow reef offers some protection to the inhabitants and their land – at low tide, at least. On the other side, a shallow lagoon reaches kilometres out to sea. The 33 islands of Kiribati – pronounced “Kiribass” – are extremely shallow; the highest point is just two metres above sea level. Looking out of the aeroplane window, there is no depth to the scene – sea dissolves seamlessly into sky, a paint palette of every blue

    Continue reading...

  • Vice-president Rosario Murillo calls global pact ‘the only instrument we have’ to address climate change as number of outsiders shrinks to two

    Nicaragua is set to join the Paris climate agreement, according to an official statement and comments from the vice-president, Rosario Murillo, on Monday, in a move that leaves the United States and Syria as the only countries outside the global pact.

    Nicaragua has already presented the relevant documents at the United Nations, Murillo, who is also first lady, said on local radio on Monday.

    Continue reading...

  • Plastic pollution, overfishing, global warming and increased acidification from burning fossil fuels means oceans are increasingly hostile to marine life

    If the outlook for marine life was already looking bleak – torrents of plastic that can suffocate and starve fish, overfishing, diverse forms of human pollution that create dead zones, the effects of global warming which is bleaching coral reefs and threatening coldwater species – another threat is quietly adding to the toxic soup.

    Ocean acidification is progressing rapidly around the world, new research has found, and its combination with the other threats to marine life is proving deadly. Many organisms that could withstand a certain amount of acidification are at risk of losing this adaptive ability owing to pollution from plastics, and the extra stress from global warming.

    Continue reading...

  • Exclusive: Freedom of information request reveals ‘disgraceful’ amount of taxpayers’ money used to battle ClientEarth over illegally poor air pollution plans

    The government spent £370,000 of taxpayers’ money unsuccessfully fighting court claims that its plans to tackle air pollution were illegally poor, a freedom of information request has revealed.

    The money was spent battling two actions brought by environmental lawyers ClientEarth and included more than £90,000 in costs paid to the group after it won on both occasions. Critics said the government’s expenditure was “disgraceful” and should have been spent on cutting pollution.

    Continue reading...

  • The idea that we will surrender our prized motors can look far-fetched. But as cities clamp down on vehicle use, technology is putting a utopian vision in reach

    If ours is an age in which no end of institutions and conventions are being disrupted, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of the most basic features of everyday life seems under serious threat. If you are fortunate enough to live in a house with a drive, look outside and you will probably see it: that four-wheeled metal box, which may well be equipped with every technological innovation imaginable, but now shows distinct signs of obsolescence.

    Related:The car has a chokehold on Britain. It’s time to free ourselves | George Monbiot

    Continue reading...

  • Scientists were expected to report that climate change is affecting air and water temperatures, precipitation, sea level and fish in New England’s largest estuary

    The Environmental Protection Agency kept three scientists from speaking at a Rhode Island event about a report that deals in part with climate change.

    The scientists were expected to discuss in Providence on Monday a report on the health of Narragansett Bay, New England’s largest estuary. The EPA did not explain exactly why the scientists were told not to.

    Continue reading...

  • British Beekeepers Association survey reveals worrying drop in honey yield, with 62% of beekeepers saying neonicotinoids are to blame

    Beekeepers have raised concerns over the future of honeybees as an annual survey showed a “steady decline” in the honey crop.

    The survey by the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) revealed beekeepers in England produced an average of 11.8kg (26 lb) of honey per hive this year, down 1kg on last year.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds