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

  • Slow progress on 2015 Paris agreement comes as scientists warn of need to get on track

    Negotiators at the climate conference in Poland have inched closer to an outcome, as the official deadline for finishing a deal ran out.

    The conference was meant to approve a rulebook which would govern how nations put into action the goals set in the landmark Paris agreement of 2015, when the world resolved to hold global warming to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels, with an aspiration to limit temperature rises to no more than 1.5C.

    Continue reading...

  • Small bits of plastic packaging from waste food make their way into animal feed as part of the UK’s permitted recycling process

    Plastic traces in animal feed could pose a risk to human health and urgently need to be the subject of more research, experts have told the Guardian.

    Their comments came after British farmer Andrew Rock contacted the Guardian, having noticed plastic shreds in his animal feed. Rock was told by the suppliers that this was a legal part of the recycling process that turns waste food, still packaged, into animal feed.

    Continue reading...

  • Report finds more than 95% chance of hydrological changes to Belyando River Basin from mines including Carmichael

    Coalmines planned in the Galilee Basin – including Adani’s Carmichael mine – understated the likely impacts on surrounding water resources, a federal government scientific report has found.

    The bioregional assessment report into the cumulative impact of coalmine proposals was published quietly last week. It was compiled by experts from the CSIRO, Geosciences Australia, the Bureau of Meteorology and the federal environment department.

    The report modelled information from seven of 17 proposed coalmines in the Galilee and found there was a greater than 95% chance that they would cause hydrological changes to the Belyando River Basin.

    Continue reading...

  • Nascent industry aims to reduce environmental impact of beef production

    The first steak grown from cells in the lab and not requiring the slaughter of a cow has been produced in Israel.

    The meat is not the finished article: the prototype costs $50 for a small strip, and the taste needs perfecting, according to its makers. But it is the first meat grown outside an animal that has a muscle-like texture similar to conventional meat.

    Continue reading...

  • Australia’s Mary River turtle went viral after it was named on an endangered species list – and Cate Blanchett even voiced a puppet of it. But was that enough to save it?

    It was “the punk turtle” – an eccentric and yet strangely human-looking reptile with a vivid green mohican, fleshy “fingers” under its chin and the ability to breathe through its genitals. The Mary River turtle went viral in April when pictures of the hitherto little-known creature were shared around the world after it was placed 30th on the Zoological Society of London’s Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered list for reptiles. The rating, which guides conservation prioritiesfor at-risk species, was compiled by Rikki Gumbs. He says that turtle fascination “went absolutely crazy” after its publication, as he fielded calls from journalists around the world. Reptiles are often overlooked but the connection many felt for the animal does not surprise Gumbs. “It’s the least these amazing reptiles deserve,” he says. “Once people can see how incredible and unique they are, it’s not surprising they are drawn to them.”

    The turtle became endangered because it was widely collected for the pet trade in the 1960s and 70s. Such collecting is outlawed now but the turtle faces a new threat. It is only found on a relatively small part of the Mary River, in Queensland, Australia, and is imperilled by the loss and degradation of its habitat. Non-native plants prevent it laying eggs in sandy river banks; non-native foxes and dogs predate it.

    Continue reading...

  • Tony Rinaudo’s regeneration technique, developed in west Africa 30 years ago, has helped bring back forest over 6m hectares

    Through the cacophony of the UN’s global climate talks, an Australian farmer is quietly spreading his plan to reforest the world.

    Over more than 30 years in west Africa, Tony Rinaudo has regenerated more than 6m hectares – an area nearly as large as Tasmania. His farmer-managed natural regeneration technique is responsible for 240m trees regrowing across that parched continent.

    Continue reading...

  • Chile and Costa Rica thought to be considering alternative bids after Brazil withdrew offer

    Britain is bidding to host the UN climate change conference in 2020, the biggest since the Paris agreement was signed in 2015, as part of the government’s aim to be seen as a green leader.

    The conference will mark a vital deadline for countries to comply with their commitments on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and move on to tougher targets for the decade to 2030, and so it is likely to be a fractious affair.

    Continue reading...

  • Exclusive: A secretive organisation based in a German village has amassed one of the world’s largest collections of rare parrots. How did Martin Guth, a former nightclub manager, persuade governments to authorise the export of so many endangered species?

    • Australia gave endangered birds to secretive German ‘zoo’, ignoring warnings

    It’s an unlikely spot for a zoo – down an unmade, dusty road, amid a wood to the east of the German capital Berlin.

    But here in the village of Tasdorf, hundreds of the world’s most endangered and rare parrot species are said to be housed at the headquarters of the Association for the Conservation of Threatened Parrots (ACTP).

    Continue reading...

  • The continent’s largest land mammal plays crucial role in spiritual lives of the tribes

    On 5,000 hectares of unploughed prairie in north-eastern Montana, hundreds of wild bison roam once again. But this herd is not in a national park or a protected sanctuary – they are on tribal lands. Belonging to the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes of Fort Peck Reservation, the 340 bison is the largest conservation herd in the ongoing bison restoration efforts by North America’s Indigenous people.

    The bison – or as Native Americans call them, buffalo – are not just “sustenance,” according to Leroy Little Bear, a professor at the University of Lethbridge and a leader in the bison restoration efforts with the Blood Tribe. The continent’s largest land mammal plays a major role in the spiritual and cultural lives of numerous Native American tribes, an “integrated relationship,” he said.

    Continue reading...

  • Prospects for species look dire as federal science body finds that only one of the country’s 16 populations is believed to be stable

    Half of Canada’s chinook salmon are endangered, with nearly all other populations in precarious decline, according to a new report, confirming fears that prospects for the species remain dire.

    The reportby the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada concluded that eight of the country’s 16 populations are considered endangered, four are threatened, one is of special concern and the health of two remain unknown.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds