Published in Highlights

An appeal from the heart for happy wagging tails! The Bestie Foundation is in urgent need of financial help, and here are twelve good reasons for supporting it.

1. The Bestie Animal Protection Foundation is the umbrella non-profit organization for the Animalis Centrum No-Kill Animal Shelter, which is the only official rescue centre in the Split-Dalmatia County. With a unique blend of knowledge, skills and experience, the Shelter has established a proven track record over the years in providing excellent care and successfully homing countless animals - over 3000 by early 2024.

2. Eco Hvar and the Bestie Foundation. I did my first dog rescue on Hvar back in September 2004, and this led to founding the non-profit Association Eco Hvar in 2013. All too quickly my property was overrun with abandoned, unwanted dogs and puppies. The Animalis Centrum Rescue Shelter saved the situation: operating to the best possible standards, the Shelter has provided a new lease of life for innumerable dogs from Hvar since our first collaboration in 2016.

3. Family dedication. Since Dr. Zdenka Filipović first founded the animal rescue facility in Split, her children have grown up and participate wholeheartedly in the work. Unstinting love for animals in need is being passed on through generations in the expanding family, ensuring a rare continuity which is set to last for years to come.

4. 'Beasties' to 'besties'. Led by the inspiring enthusiasm of Dr. Zdenka's son Zvonimir, the Foundation is constantly looking to improve the lot of the Shelter residents, and indeed of all animals. With groups of volunteers Shelter dogs are regularly taken for walks around town and in the countryside, in winter there are hikes up Kozjak Mountain, while in summer there are swimming sessions at the local dog-friendly beach. These excursions are invaluable for helping the dogs to exercise and socialize with other dogs and people, including strangers, in safety and under control. The visibility of the groups also helps to highlight the Shelter's work. Regular stimulation and socialization activities play a big part in reducing stress and helping to transform 'beasts' (Croatian 'beštije') into 'besties' (true best friends in the language of love).

5. Education, awareness raising. The Foundation has forged links with all manner of institutions, from kindergartens to big commercial firms, and organizes talks and workshops to improve knowledge about animals' needs and responsible pet ownership. There is also media exposure, including via radio, TV and newspapers, especially giving advice, including health measures such as inoculations and dealing with seasonal risks such as ticks, parasites and pine processionary moth caterpillars. The Foundation is always represented at public events in Split relating to animals, where people can learn about the Foundation's work and meet some of the Shelter residents - a valuable experience for animals and humans alike.

6. Solving difficult situations. The Foundation's staff are often called upon to deal with complicated cases in collaboration with the veterinary inspectors, local authorities and, when necessary, the police. They have dealt successfully with varied problems, including mistreated dogs with aggressive owners, packs of dogs roaming free, and genetically disturbed dogs resulting from the owner's 'dog hoarding' mental illness which has led to in-breeding.

7. Finding homes. Because they handle the Shelter's residents with exemplary care and consideration, the staff and volunteers get to know their characters, and so are able to identify what kind of home would be suitable for each animal. Prospective owners have to show they can provide suitable conditions for their future pet. First they get to know it, then they take it on provisionally, with support and supervision from the Shelter where possible, and a commitment to return the animal if it proves unsuitable. If all is well, there is a final written commitment making the ownership permanent. Over the years the Foundation has established strong links with well-respected animal organizations in other countries, especially in Germany, England and Austria. These have proved essential for providing good homes for great numbers of animals: the system works well, and the Foundation is kept informed about the dogs which are homed abroad. Through links with a special organization homes have even been found for some of the genetically deficient dogs saved through the Foundation's interventions.

8. An asset for tourism. Very many visitors holidaying in Dalmatia are animal-lovers. It often happens that they come across stray and abandoned animals, especially dogs, and go out of their way to find somewhere to take them. The Animalis Centrum Shelter provides a unique lifeline in these situations, and the tourists who experience its exceptional level of care are always impressed and delighted. It is extremely important for Croatia's image as a tourist destination that care for animals in need is seen to be available. Goodwill as demonstrated by the Bestie Foundation is at the heart of successful tourist attractions.

9. Costs. Running an animal rescue facility is extremely expensive. As the shelter is No-Kill, meaning that euthanasia is prohibited except in exceptional cases such as serious illness, animals can stay indefinitely, needing care and food for months, sometimes even years. Apart from the normal property fees (general rates, water rates and rubbish management), there are ongoing costs for rental of the property, staffing, water, sanitation, power, food, veterinary care (including microchipping, preventive treatment against parasites, any necessary surgical and medical interventions, medicines and mandatory sterilizations) and transport. There are also administration, banking and accountancy costs, plus expenses associated with the homing process. Administration is extensive: records are kept of every dog admitted to the Shelter and the outcome of its stay.

10. Who pays? In Croatia, every regional authority is bound by law to establish an animal rescue shelter housing at least 50 animals on its territory, and to participate in the shelter's running costs, with the participation of all the local authorities (Article 62, items 2 and 3 of the Animal Protection Law - Zakon o zaštiti životinja, NN 102/17, 32/19) NOTE: The European Union does not offer funding for animal rescue operations: EU funding is available for the welfare of animals used for commercial purposes such as food and research, but not for helping domestic animals.

11. Finance gaps. Financially, the Foundation and its associated Animal Shelter depend on donations, on annual contracts for their services from local authorities and relevant institutions and on payments for services rendered (specifically, a fee for each animal taken in). The financial provisions in the law quoted above by no means cover every eventuality. Not all the local authorities in the Split-Dalmatia County enter into annual contracts with the Shelter. When a tourist brings a stray animal to the Shelter, as often happens, there is no guarantee that the responsible local authority will be found to pay the due costs of receiving it. If an animal is brought in with serious injuries or health problems, the expenses for surgery and medical care have to be met through donations.

12. Unlimited need, endless work. Being the only registered animal shelter serving one of Croatia's largest counties, Animalis Centrum is always working at full stretch. Expenditure constantly outstrips the Foundation's financial resources. For its dedication to excellence, the Bestie Foundation requires, desires and deserves the fullest support.


Details for donations:

Via the bank:
Zaklada Bestie
Kukuljevićeva 1, 21000 Split
Otp banka
IBAN: HR9324070001100371229

Paypal donate button:

Vivian Grisogono MA(Oxon)
President, Eco Hvar

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