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 poisons be aware About Animals Bobi, the dog who didn't need to die

Eco Environment News feeds

  • A conference marked by squabbling and deferral yielded little progress despite protests

    Governments at the UN climate talks in Madrid responded to the growing urgency of the crisis with a partial admission that carbon-cutting targets are too weak, but few concrete plans to strengthen them in line with the Paris agreement.

    Two weeks of talks ended on Sunday afternoon with a formal recognition of the need to bridge the gap between greenhouse gas targets set in 2015 in Paris and scientific advice that says much deeper cuts are needed. Current targets would put the world on track for 3C of warming, which scientists say would ravage coastal cities and destroy agriculture over swathes of the globe.

    Continue reading...

  • Unsavoury flavour may explain why certain species do not flee from predators, scientist says

    It might seem like they are being lazy but some moths do not bother to flee from predators because they make themselves taste disgusting.

    That is the case for a certain species of tiger moth, which researchers have found displays a nonchalant approach when faced with potential predators, on account of its disgusting flavour.

    Continue reading...

  • The spread of electrical lighting is blocking out the stars and threatens the health of many species … including humans. Now our national parks plan to take back the night

    NOAA-20 probably has the best view of the North York Moors, even though it’s 512 miles away. In one sweep – on a clear night – the weather satellite can see the whole national park, from the forests in the south near Scarborough to the heather-covered moorland just south-east of Middlesbrough.

    When Richard Darn walks these hills – on a clear night – he can’t quite make out NOAA-20 as it scurries from pole to pole because the skyglow from Middlesbrough pollutes the darkness. Yet down in the southern forests, the night sky is pristine and ideal for satellite spotting. Places with truly dark skies like this are shrinking. In the areas where you can see why the ancients decided that a group of stars looked like a great bear, or scorpion, or Orion the hunter, the faintest dots of the constellations are being drowned in skyglow, or winked out by a brash neon sign or stray security light.

    Continue reading...

  • Charity finds one in five won’t re-wear new outfits, despite spending average of £73.90 each

    Britons are poised to spend £2.4bn on new outfits for the Christmasparty season this year – yet many items may be worn fewer than three times – a survey shows.

    After shelling out an average of £73.90 per person on partywear for the festive period, one in five people admit they won’t wear the same outfit to more than one party or event, according to the study from environmental charity Hubbub.

    Continue reading...

  • Martijn Wilder says more companies are talking about the climate crisis but not moving quickly enough – and his new firm Pollination aims to improve that

    A growing number of governments, including of every Australian state, Britain and the European Union, have set targets of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Few have mapped how to get there.

    It is a similar story in the corporate sector. Businesses are under increasing pressure from investors and shareholders to back up claims they are committed to the goals of the Paris agreement. Take BHP, one of the world’s 20 big emitters: it has set a mid-century net-zero emissions target but is yet explain how it will reach it, and plans to invest more in oil and gas than climate solutions.

    Continue reading...

  • Tougher limits on pollutants could cut dangers of heart disease, cancers and poor brain development in children

    The UK’s failure to meet World Health Organisation standards limiting the amount of ultra-fine particles in the air represents a major danger to health that is only now being recognised, experts claim.

    Studies published this year link the particles to cancers, lung and heart disease, adverse effects on foetal development, and poor lung and brain development in children. They are considered a key threat to health because they go deep into the lungs and then reach other organs, including the brain. But European standards allow the levels of particles in the air to be 2.5 times higher than those stipulated by the WHO.

    Continue reading...

  • Brazil, India and China singled out in UN talks as acting to block agreement on article 6 of Paris agreement

    Poor countries have accused a handful of richer nations of holding up progress on tackling the climate crisis at UN talks in Madrid, as demonstrators and activists vented their frustration in the final hours of two weeks of negotiations.

    The talks, which had been due to end on Friday, dragged on with negotiators still battling on Saturday to salvage a result, as governments wrangled over the details of a seemingly arcane issue: carbon markets, governed by a provision of the 2015 Paris agreement known as article 6.

    Continue reading...

  • Helped by volunteers, Trees for Life planted nearly 2m native trees on its Scottish projects. It wants to plant millions more

    The bracken-clad hills are marked “Dundreggan forest” on the map but this Scottish glen is mostly stark Highland scenery: open, beautiful, and almost totally devoid of trees.

    On a steep-sided little gully, 40 years ago, a few baby silver birches escaped relentless browsing by red deer and grew tall. Now, the nearby path through the bracken is dusted with thousands of brown specks: birch seeds.

    Continue reading...

  • Destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest in November more than doubled the same period last year

    Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon jumped to the highest level for the month of November since record-keeping began in 2015, according to preliminary government data published.

    Destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest totalled 563 square kms in November, which is more than double the area in the same month last year, according to the country’s space research agency INPE on Friday.

    Continue reading...

  • The pick of the best flora and fauna photos from around the world, from an illuminated giraffe to an elusive southern elephant seal

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds