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, three 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).
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 can read more about the dangers of the Pest Control Programme in our article 'Poisoning Paradise: A Wake-Up Call' (December 2019)

You are here: Home poisons be aware About Animals Bobi, the dog who didn't need to die

Eco Environment News feeds

  • Company convicted of trying to export used nappies and other contaminated materials illegally

    One of the UK’s biggest waste firms has lost a case in the court of appeal to overturn a criminal conviction for exporting dirty waste to China.

    The Environment Agency, which brought a successful criminal prosecution a year ago against Biffa Waste Services Ltd, which was convicted of trying to send used nappies and other contaminated materials illegally to China, welcomed Friday’s ruling and said exports of this kind of illegal waste “blighted the lives and environment of people overseas”.

    Continue reading...

  • The pick of the world’s best flora and fauna photos, including a hatching crocodile and Mexican grey wolf cubs

    Continue reading...

  • Scottish court rules that environmental group defied court order banning the protest

    Greenpeace has been fined £80,000 after a Scottish court found it guilty of the “wilful defiance” of a court order banning it from occupying a North Sea oil rig.

    Lady Wolffe, sitting in the court of session in Edinburgh, said Greenpeace UK had deliberately broken an interdict, or injunction, against occupying a platform owned by the US contractor Transocean in June 2019.

    Continue reading...

  • Frequency of heatwaves and cumulative intensity has risen through the decades, research finds

    Heatwaves have increased in both length and frequency in nearly every part of the world since the 1950s, according to what is described as the first study to look at the issue at a regional level.

    The study found the escalation in heatwaves varied around the planet, with the Amazon, north-eastern Brazil, west Asia (including parts of the subcontinent and central Asia) and the Mediterranean all experiencing more rapid change than, for example, southern Australia and north Asia. The only inhabited region where there was not a trend was in the central United States.

    Continue reading...

  • Tees Valley mayor hails rental scheme as ‘clean energy, socially distant mode of transport’

    Residents of Middlesbrough in north-east England will be the first in the UK to legally ride electric scooters on the open road when the law changes on Saturday, as the government struggles to prevent a recovery from coronavirus based on cars.

    Though e-scooters have been whizzing illegally around many UK cities for the past few years, the pandemic has prompted the government to speed up plans to pilot public rental schemes.

    Continue reading...

  • Areas with a drier climate have seen greater loss of biodiversity from global warming

    Dry tropical forests are more vulnerable to the impacts of global heating than had been thought, according to new research, with wildlife and plants at severe risk of harm from human impacts.

    Some tropical forests are very wet, but others thrive in a drier climate and scientists had thought these drier forests would be better adapted to drought, and therefore more able to cope with the effects of the climate crisis.

    Continue reading...

  • Nicky Woo has won the Marilyn Stafford award 2020 with her project As the Water Comes, documenting rising sea levels in Saint-Louis

    Continue reading...

  • Communities in Bristol are devising their own solutions to problems linked with the city’s role in slavery

    During lockdown, the wild grass in Bristol’s Greenbank cemetery has grown higher than many of the tombstones, transforming the land above the dead into a gothic meadow. Nominally closed to the public before 4pm each day, the grounds are a popular location for joggers, strollers and dog walkers, who enter through a gap in the fence. For Zakiya Mckenzie, a local writer, this is the furthest from home she has been in three months, but she has chosen this spot for an interview because of its historic symbolism – a subject that has has come to the fore like never before in the wake of the pandemic.

    She leads me down wooded slopes to a waist-high monument set in a glade, a little apart from the other tombs. It is the relocated grave of a group of Baptist people, including Fanny Coker, who was born a slave in the Caribbean island of Nevis in 1767 and died in Bristol in 1820, serving as a housemaid to one of Bristol’s wealthiest plantation-owning families.

    Continue reading...

  • A fast growing mountain of toxic e-waste is polluting the planet and damaging health, says new report

    At least $10bn (£7.9bn) worth of gold, platinum and other precious metals are dumped every year in the growing mountain of electronic waste that is polluting the planet, according to a new UN report.

    A record 54m tonnes of “e-waste” was generated worldwide in 2019, up 21% in five years, the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor report found. The 2019 figure is equivalent to 7.3kg for every man, woman and child on Earth, though use is concentrated in richer nations. The amount of e-waste is rising three times faster than the world’s population, and only 17% of it was recycled in 2019.

    Continue reading...

  • Thames Water overflow pipe pumped waste for 1,000 hours into London wetlands last year

    Raw sewage was discharged for more than 1,000 hours from a Thames Water overflow pipe into an environmental wetland at the Olympic Park last year, the Guardian can reveal.

    The combined sewer overflow (CSO) at Mulberry Court pumped untreated waste 91 times into the waterway that feeds into the River Lea. To April this year, the same CSO has so far discharged for 34 hours in 20 incidents.

    Continue reading...

Eco Health News feeds

Eco Nature News feeds

Feed not found.