Not in my backyard!

Street dogs of Dubrovnik / 18 December 2017

Not in my backyard! 1

Finding a permanent solution for the street dogs of Dubrovnik is taking time and energy, but the Political Animal Lobby (PAL) won’t rest until hundreds of dogs that lead a precarious existence on the mountainside above Dubrovnik are properly housed and fed and have regular access to veterinary care.

PAL’s sister organisation, Network for Animals, initiated discussions with the mayor of Dubrovnik, Mato Francovic about the construction of a permanent, well-resourced animal shelter for Dubrovnik and PAL has been handed the batten. But, the project has run into a snag: the “not in my backyard” attitude of some of the residents of Dubrovnik.

“Part of the process of finding a solution for street dogs in Dubrovnik involves identifying a suitable site for an animal shelter,” explains a PAL spokesman, “but this involves lengthy consultations with the people of Dubrovnik, some of whom object to the construction of a dog shelter on the grounds that it will be noisy.”

In spite of the objections of some residents, Mayor Francovic is committed to the project; one of his first duties as mayor was to send food to the 300 dogs living at the Zarkovica Animal Shelter. But Zarkovica is assailed by the elements − wind, rain and snow − and the dogs that live there are cared for by a small group of volunteers. Clearly a more permanent solution is needed.

“We won’t give up until we have ensured that the dogs can lead a humane existence,” said the spokesman.

While the construction of an animal shelter is a priority, PAL will also be working on other fronts in Croatia. The organisation has identified Gypsy settlements in the north of the country as animal abuse hotspots.

“The Romani (Gypsies) make up about 4.7% of the population of Croatia which means they are the largest national minority in the country,” explained the spokesman. “But the Romani are generally unemployed and living in poor conditions, with inadequate water, electricity and healthcare. Where people suffer, animals do too and with the help of its supporters, PAL will be turning its attention to the plight of animals − particularly dogs − living in Romani settlements and seeking help from the authorities to improve the situation.”

As with all PAL campaigns, the organisation will strive to work closely with local authorities in Croatia to provide permanent, humane solutions to animal welfare problems and crises.