Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Construction of Quality Dubrovnik Animal Shelter 1 Step Closer to Reality

May the 24th, 2022 - The future Dubrovnik animal shelter, which is desperately needed and which would, at least theoretically, become one of the most modern in all of Europe, is one step closer to having boots put on the ground.

As Morski writes, the e-conference in the regular procedure for issuing a construction permit for the would-be new Dubrovnik animal shelter has now been completed, during which there were no objections from the invited public bodies, thus successfully completing this necessary step.

After the expiration of the legal deadline in which the parties to the proceedings are heard, a building permit will be issued, which will fulfill the last precondition for the construction of the Dubrovnik animal shelter. The move will come as an extremely welcome move following Sandra Sambrailo and company's tireless and selfless work at the current makeshift Zarkovica animal shelter, for which very little support has ever been provided from Croatia's extremely rich southernmost city.

For the realisation of the project of the Dubrovnik city shelter for animals, the adoption of the Amendments to the Spatial Plan of the City of Dubrovnik previously included a new location of the future city shelter, which removed a basic but problematic administrative barrier. The project has now been improved in terms of energy efficiency and sustainability with the completing of the project documentation, which has been fully prepared in accordance with reference regulations, laws and the guidelines of international animal protection associations.

The up and coming Dubrovnik animal shelter will receive electricity from solar energy, which, they say, will significantly contribute when applying for the project's financing with European Union (EU) funds.

The future complex will be located in the Grabovica area, spanning an area of ​​12,000 square metres, and it will be one of the largest facilities of its kind in Europe managed by a local government unit. It will have a maximum accommodation capacity for 352 animals in a total of 12 pavilions. It will consist of a central building with facilities for staff, visitors and employees, a veterinary/medical service area and other service facilities, and a pavilion area with associated open spaces for the accommodation and recreation of resident animals.

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Sunday, 25 July 2021

26,000 Animals Used in Experiments in Croatia, Says Association

ZAGREB, 25 July, 2021 - The Animal Friends Croatia association recalled earlier this week that on 21 July 2005 the dogs from the "beagle scandal" at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine were released and adopted, and it warned about a report from the European Commission that 26,000 animals are used in experiments in Croatia.

Animal Friends Croatia said in the press release that the number of dogs used in experiments was unfortunately increasing, which is confirmed by the latest report from the European Commission, according to which over 10.5 million animals were used in experiments in European laboratories in 2018, including nearly 26,000 in Croatia.

The association recalled that on 21 July 2005, 32 scared and traumatised beagles, on which bone-breaking experiments had been conducted illegally at Zagreb's Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, had been released.

Despite the reports filed, no one responsible for the procurement and conducting of experiments has been prosecuted to date, the association warned.

It believes, however, that there has been a shift because last week's report from the European Commission states that Croatia did not use dogs in experiments in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Unfortunately, Croatia still used a huge number of mostly mice, followed by rats, domestic poultry, rabbits, zebrafish, sheep, pigs, horses, donkeys and their hybrids, as well as guinea pigs, the association warned.

According to data, over 1,200 animals have never recovered from the experiments.

Animal Friends Croatia stressed that the European Commission, in order to move towards the ultimate goal of completely replacing animals and in response to requests for greater transparency, had launched the first statistical database, ALURES, which provides free access to information on using animals for scientific purposes in the EU. The data are collected by member states and sent to the Commission every year.

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Tuesday, 20 July 2021

European Commission to End Caged Animal Farming in EU By 2027

July 20, 2021 - The "End the Cage Age" campaign to ban caged animal farming was approved by the European Commission with the support of the European Parliament. 170 European animal rights associations, including Animal Friends Croatia, celebrated this major step towards improving animal welfare in Europe!

Since the launch of the End the Cage Age campaign in September 2018 headed by Compassion in World Farming EU, it garnered 1.4 million signatures and big support from citizens and animal welfare associations all over Europe. Two of these associations include Animal Friends Croatia and Victorious Association who were responsible for collecting signatures from Croatian citizens who were supportive of this campaign. Last June 30, 2021, the European Commission finally announced their commitment to phase out animal cages in European farms by 2027 making it the first successful civic animal welfare initiative in the European Union!


The European Parliament also supported the banning of cages in animal farming. BBC reported that the parliament had "grave concerns" about animal housing and well-being in farms, with a lot of these animals not having enough space to stand straight, stretch or even turn around. Stella Kyriakides, the EU health commissioner, also announced that animals are sentient beings and humans have a moral and societal responsibility to make sure that on-farm conditions for animals reflect this. According to BBC, the EU has one of the highest animal welfare standards in the world, however, the data collected by the End the Cage Age suggested that it still has a lot of room for improvement. As of 2020, it showed that 94% of EU's farmed rabbits are caged and so are 49% of farmed hens and 85% of farmed sows. 

The European Commission is aiming to revise current EU legislation with a commitment to present a legislative proposal by the end of 2023 and to completely phase out the use of cages for hens, cows, rabbits, calves, ducks, geese, and other farmed animals by 2027. The commission also expressed commitment to ensure that the EU will only import products from non-EU countries which comply with cage-free standards and lastly, to provide systems, incentives, and financial support to European farmers in their transition to cage-free farming. The End the Cage Age announced that this monumental event is not the end and success of the campaign, on the other hand, it is only the beginning. The campaign's mission now is to monitor and ensure that the European Commission and the promised legislative laws and processes would be delivered. It is also now reported that some EU countries are already supporting this change. Austria and Luxembourg have already banned battery caging of hens entirely while the Czech Republic and Germany have started implementing protocols to unilaterally ban caged hens by 2025. 

Many associations celebrated this big milestone in animal welfare in Europe including a number of politicians and members of the Parliament and longtime animal rights advocates, Tilly Metz and Francisco Guerreiro. According to Animal Friends Croatia, the approval of the petition is a huge victory for animals and a big step in the fight to completely stop the exploitation and killing of animals. “The European Commission's commitment to ban cages across Europe will have a huge impact on millions of animals. We want to thank all the 1.4 million EU citizens and the hundreds of organizations that have fought for this historic moment.", said Reineke Hameleers - the Executive Director of Eurogroup for Animals. The Osijek Association Pobjeda also thanked everyone who supported the campaign by signing and sharing the information. The activists are proud to make a difference to more than 300 million farmed animals that are immensely suffering from harsh animal farming conditions. Animal Friends Croatia also invites everyone to switch to a plant-based diet and in order to not further contribute to animal cruelty by procuring animal-based food and products. "It is horrible that in industrial farming, animals are being kept their whole short lives in cramped cages in which they cannot even turn around, and then brutally end up in a slaughterhouse.", said AFC.

To learn more about End the Cage Age campaign, CLICK HERE.

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Sunday, 11 July 2021

Croatian Firefighting Community Joins Campaign Against Chaining Dogs

ZAGREB, 11 July, 2021 - The Croatian Firefighting Community has decided to support the national campaign for ending the practice of tethering dogs.

The community's president Slavko Tucaković has recently said that unfortunately during their rescue operations firefighters witnessed sometimes cruelty towards animals, when they could not rescued chained dogs.

They were also shaken by images of chained dogs during their rescue operations in the earthquake-hit Sisak-Moslavina areas in late 2020, which prompted the to join this campaign for banning the chaining of dogs.

The HGSS mountain rescue service has already joined the campaign.

The Croatian association - Animals' Friends - proposed the ban on keeping dogs on chains together with the Čakovec asylum and Victory NGO. They received support for their proposal from the PETA organisation.

PETA called on Croatian officials to take the necessary steps and support the ban on keeping dogs on chains which is already prohibited in many European countries like Austria, Germany, Hungary and Malta and in some states in the USA.

The Animals' Friends association recalled that the suffering of dogs on chains was highlighted in 2020 when volunteers went to help earthquake-struck areas in Sisak-Moslavina County where they came across dogs on chains, abandoned and left to die in the ruins.

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Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Youth for Stray Dogs Project Talks About Current Animal Rights and Welfare in Croatia

May 19, 2021 - What to do when you see an animal being abused or abandoned? Who do you call? Learn the answers and find out more about current animal rights and welfare in Croatia, what we can do to improve it and get inspired to do volunteer work in this interview with Luana Matošević, the project coordinator of Udruga Prizma whose idea launched the project Youth for Stray Dogs held in Zadar just a week ago!



Photo credit: Udruga Prizma


Luana Matosevic and Udruga Prizma's Creation of the Project 

What was the inspiration behind this project? 

Before moving to Croatia from Switzerland, I'd never seen a stray dog. When I arrived here in Zadar, me and my boyfriend found a puppy in a carton box on a road and this pushed me to start writing a project for young people on the subject of strays. Also, in the Erasmus Plus programme, there are still not many projects/youth exchanges related specifically to the protection of animals and raising awareness of their rights, and in my opinion, it is time to increase their presence. After that, the collaboration for the drafting of the project also began with other animal lovers, including the president of the Prizma association, Silvestar Petrov, and our partners from Serbia - SFERA Serbia and Ljubitelji životinja i prirode Zelene šape and from Greece - NGO Youth Active Minds

How did the situation with COVID-19 affect the creation of this project? Was it difficult to get participants? 

Yes, it affected it, because it became more complex at an organisational level: prevention measures against the spread of the virus must be taken into account (and therefore we need to avoid gatherings, try to do as many activities as we can outdoors and hope for sunny weather, find open structures for accommodation, etc.), tests must be organised before and after the trips of the participants, while always trying to stay within the project's budget. In addition, several  participants had to be changed due fear of travel or contracting the infection a few days before departure. As a result, finding participants was also more difficult than usual. But I can say that once the project started, they were all very happy to have chosen to participate and went beyond any fear of the pandemic. In addition, everybody tested negative for the novel virus at the end of the youth exchange! 

How important are the youth in the development of a better and more empathic community? How important is volunteering? 

We think that in order to contribute to solve the problem of strays (in general, I'm talking about animal rights), it's more efficient to prevent the causes and therefore inform and make future owners of animals aware about how to be a responsible owner. Young people are also full of desire to do things and make changes, they put their hearts into what they do and in this way, they're also able to motivate the less stimulated youngsters. Volunteering actions benefit the community, but they also benefit individuals on a personal level. People who volunteer, especially if they have economic/cultural/social obstacles, have the opportunity to feel part of a group, to feel useful and active in society, to take initiatives. And then it certainly increases the sensitivity of those who do it and this is never a bad thing. It is important on all levels and is also a way to learn new things in a non formal way.

About Animal Welfare 

With regard to responsible ownership:

What are the most common reasons why people abandon their dogs? 

  • Unwanted pregnancies (due to the absence of control of the dog outside the home, the absence of sterilisation and awareness campaigns on the subject)
  • Families which rush to get a puppy without being informed about what it means to take care of an animal (the dog becomes too big, too expensive, too big of a commitment) 
  • A dog is seen as something to be used (for hunting, for competitions, for fighting) and then when it is no longer in the best condition, it is no longer needed 
  • Dogs with complex behaviours that the owner doesn't know how to manage (and there is also lack of qualified dog trainers) 
  • The owner moves/has children/doesn’t have time for the dog anymore, or experiences economic issues

What are the things that people need to consider before getting a pet? 

  • Having a pet is a responsibility as it is a sentient living being that needs care, space, socialisation and movement for many years. 
  • It is useful to be informed about which breed you want to adopt - depending on the lifestyle you have. Not all breeds, for example, are optimal for families with children or for elderly people. 
  • Neutering, microchipping and vaccinating pets is important! 
  • In the case of dogs, especially for some breeds, training is important by using positive reinforcement (treats, playtime, pets, verbal rewards) 
  • It is certainly a daily commitment, but the love that the animal gives back is priceless. Furthermore, the benefits of having an animal are many: having a pet decreases stress neurotransmitters (epinephrine and norepinephrine), is an anti-depressant and helps us to stay active (and as such, we reduce the chances of developing numerous cardiovascular diseases). 

Volunteering, Animal Rights and Adoptions 

For all those who are interested in helping and volunteering in the shelters, what are the things animal shelters need most? 

Dog walkers, dog groomers, the cleaning out of their boxes, doing maintenance activities on the structure, adoptions and donations! 

What can we do and who can we contact when we see an abandoned and abused animal?

Here in Croatia, if the dog has an owner/it is in a private place: ask for a local vet inspection from the vet inspector of the city. If he doesn’t do anything, contact the regional veterinary inspection office. If the office doesn’t react, you can contact the office responsible for veterinary inspections at the Ministry of Agriculture. (Useful Source: https://prijatelji-zivotinja.hr/index.en.php?id=1547). 

If the dog is in a public place:

  • Try to find out if the dog has an owner (check the collar)
  • Bring the animal to a local vet and ask for the microchip to be read
  • If the animal doesn’t have a microchip, contact a local non-profit animal welfare organisation, or the municipality (depending on the city). 

Other good things to do: 

  • Try to find out information about the animal in the neighbourhood by asking around and by posting photos on social media 
  • Provide care, water and food for the animal 
  • Try to find a temporary or permanent home for the animal  
  • Call the police (and if the news goes public the police tend to react more quickly) 

What is the law regarding keeping your dog chained permanently outside the house in Croatia? 

From this year on “Prijatelji Zivotinja” and other members of the Animal Protection Network are calling for an urgent amendment to the existing Animal Protection Act by introducing a complete ban on keeping dogs chained. There is no law in the Animal Act that which prohibits keeping dogs on a chain, only general sentences that say:

Animal Protection Act, Part 1, Article 5.16 “It is prohibited to neglect an animal in terms  of its health, housing, nutrition, and care”

Animal Protection Act, Part 1, Article 5.19 “It is prohibited to restrict the movement of animals in a way that causes them pain, suffering, injury or fear, in contravention of the provisions of  this Act” 

About Udruga Prizma 

How many members does Udruga Prizma currently have? 


Are there any activities and projects you want to promote? 

We're doing a regional project called Generator Kulture which is for young people from Benkovac and the surrounding small villages. The aim is to organise several activities and events for them, for giving the opportunity to youngsters with fewer opportunities (young people who live in remote places) to do something creative in their spare time. One example is the following - this summer we're going to repeat the workshop “Kamp Ilustracija”, where the participants will focus on storytelling and the art of illustration while staying in contact with nature during the camp week.


If interested in doing volunteer work, visit Udruga Prizma's site and Erasmus + Program and learn more about their upcoming and current projects.

If interested in adopting and doing volunteer work in an animal shelter, CLICK HERE.

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Saturday, 27 February 2021

Petition Launched to Make Keeping Croatian Dogs on a Chain Illegal

February the 27th, 2021 - Dogs are man's best friend, and while the vast majority of people love these animals and treat them with the respect they deserve, some still see them as a mere means o an end and mistreat them, ignoring their needs and even outwardly abusing them. Croatian dogs and indeed cats often fail in getting the respect they deserve when it comes to the proper implementation of both national and European animal welfare laws, but could a difference soon be made?

As Poslovni Dnevnik writes, the Friends of Animals Association reported on Friday that a petition has been launched for a legal ban on keeping Croatian dogs on leashes/chains, which they have been fighting for since way back in 2005, stressing that animals should be promptly rescued from a leash that restricts their movement to just a few metres.

"The Friends of Animals Association, the Friends of the Cakovec Shelter, the Pobjeda (Victory) Association and other members of the Animal Protection Network are calling for an urgent amendment to the existing Animal Protection Act of the Republic of Croatia via the introduction of a total ban on keeping Croatian dogs ties up on a leash," the statement said.

''We believe that unless you can ensure the proper conditions for keeping a dog, then you shouldn't keep dogs at all. Keeping dogs on leashes is shameful and absolutely unacceptable,'' said the aforementioned Croatian animal protection associations.

The three associations, with the support of all associations from the Animal Welfare Network, want a change that would save thousands of animals, particularly Croatian dogs, which are currently "imprisoned" on chains. The move would also protect those animals who haven't even been born yet from ever experiencing such a fate.

"We always say how dogs are a man's best friends, and we condemn them to slavery, to life within a radius of a few metres," the associations warned bluntly.

The petition can be signed by following this link.

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Friday, 2 October 2020

Vukovar Student Becomes Croatia's First Animal Rights Lawyer

October 2, 2020 - Ivana Kramer from Vukovar became Croatia's first animal rights lawyer after graduating from the Faculty Of Law in Osijek

Ivana Kramer from Vukovar has become Croatia's first animal rights lawyer. She did so after graduating from the Faculty Of Law in Osijek, having received her diploma on September 23. The Faculty Of Law in Osijek is the only one in Croatia that has an elective course in animal rights.

In a recent interview with Vecernji List's Suzana Lepan Štefančić, Ivana explained that her desire to become Croatia's first animal rights lawyer stemmed from always having been around animals. “I have three dogs,” she said, in explaining her choice of the elective course in animal rights, “and my mother Željka adopts and helps abandoned animals.”

Some of the animals that Ivana's mum Željka looks after in Vukovar. Photos from the Facebook of Željka Kramer.

Ivana commuted to the Faculty Of Law in Osijek for five years in order to complete the course, choosing to stay living at home in Vukovar rather than move to the Slavonian capital. She says she would ideally like to stay in Vukovar to begin working in this field of law.

Her elective course in animal rights was undertaken in the final year of her studies and was the step that propelled her to the status of Croatia's first animal rights lawyer. During this final year, she researched the Animal Protection Act, which was implemented in 2017, with an emphasis on the situation in the Osijek-Baranja and Vukovar-Srijem counties. Her research included dog shelters in Vukovar and Osijek, where she occasionally volunteers.

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Monday, 20 January 2020

Pazin Animal Shelter: Local and Swedish National Open Sanctuary

As Glas Istre/Andjelo Dagostin writes on the 20th of January, 2020, on a sunny winter afternoon, Glas Istre reporters arrived at Pazin Animal Shelter, housed in two buildings of an old military complex located just north of Pazin, at a location called Loke near Pazinčica.

They were welcomed by the Pazin Animal Shelter's manager, Pazin local Mae Isaksson, who, together with her daughter, Maja Lilith Klemen (president of the Happy End association) and volunteer, Swede Benny Andersson, has been caring for abandoned animals, primarily dogs and cats, for over a decade now. On weekends, 20-30 volunteers come from all over Istria to lend a helping hand at the Pazin Animal Shelter, and in the summer months, even tourists show up. Some come and work, but most walk the dogs.

When they decided to open an animal shelter back in the spring of 2010, they looked for terrains and facilities around Pazin that would be suitable for this, however, Pazin itself had very little to offer. They decided to equip a part of an old military complex that was empty, devastated and that had been of no interest to anyone for some twenty years. Pazin requested that the Ministry of Defense hand over these non-prospective facilities for ownership, concession or lease. In the meantime, the asylum-plots were included in their spatial plans for the purpose of the animal shelter, and some time has been lost on the property-legal solution of a disputed piece of land, a classic Croatian saga. Nevertheless, a shelter project for fifty dogs was completed and a location permit was issued for it.

''Ten years have now passed and we haven't gotten anywhere,'' says Isakkson, and when asked where the plot is, he says that the asylum-containing plots of land are currently owned by the State Property Ministry, which now has no obstacles in its way to solve the problem. He notes that they have encountered a legal problem, however. Specifically, the first few metres of the plot on which the main shelter building is located was affected by the flood risk zone and it should therefore not be located in such an area. Owing to that, Pazin applied for an asylum permit for an adjacent plot of land that is not in any area within the risk zone.

''But what happened at the end of last year? A new law on shelters was released that deleted the item on flood risk zones, so that what has been the biggest obstacle for us to legalise the facility has now been resolved. It would be expensive for us to go and build a brand new shelter,'' Isaksson says, adding that after Pazin's involvement with the water and rubbish collection, they needed more electricity, a septic tank and renovation of facilities as well as the installation of more adequate heating, etc.

For the time being, solar panels are being used for light, as some dogs must be treated with their various therapies at night.

"We're now waiting for the opinion of the County Office for Spatial Planning as to whether or not there is any other legal obstacle preventing us from registering the Pazin Animal Shelter. But now it's certain that the asylum will come to be: either it will be registered or a new one will be built on the adjacent parcel of land," Isaksson explained.

Legalising the business would ultimately provide them with finances (food, veterinary care and employee benefits), as they now depend on a donation from Pazin and on people's goodwill.

When it comes to the question of how many animals have been adopted so far, Isaksson responded:

''Considering all those who only stayed with us for a few days or were temporarily staying with someone, we must have adopted over a thousand dogs by now. Until last year, on average, we received and fostered about a hundred dogs a year, but then you're there from morning till dark, there is no moving anywhere. Last year, we significantly reduced the number of dogs we took in because of our uncertain future,'' said Isaksson, adding that cats are rehomed much less frequently.

They currently care for 40 dogs and 60 cats, but they also have pigeons, ducks and even one young seagull. A real little zoo. How did the young seagull come to the Pazin Animal Shelter?

''They brought him from Pula for us to rehabilitate him and then let him go. We planned on having him with us for a week or two until his injured leg was healed. And now he's completely healed, but he can't fly even though his wing looks normal and the x-ray shows nothing, apparently some nerve is destroyed. Maja tried to put him back by the sea anyway, but the bird did not want to go. One can see that he knows what to do, run, take off, but one wing doesn't work at all and now he lives here. He gets along with the ducks very well,'' Isaksson noted.

In the enclosure, five ducks and one seagull swim around in small pools. Very nice. How did the ducks get there?

''I bought them at the cattle fair in Zminj, because I felt sorry for them. The seller said that these little ducks would weigh three pounds in three months and would be ready for slaughter. And so, for two years now, which is already old age for fattening ducks in our country, here they are,'' said Mae.

Although this is not the focus of their activities, Glas Istre journalists asked whether they were engaged in animal rights initiatives or improvements to farm conditions.

''Whenever we have the opportunity and time, even though we have no space here, but we certainly support and join any such petition or action,'' Mae replies. She added that when they started the Pazin Animal Shelter, the ideas were much larger and more complex - an animal centre with special departments for dogs, cats, a wildlife rehabilitation centre, and a farm animal shelter where children could be shown how animals should live, etc.

We don't advocate veganism so much, people should be left to choose whether they want to eat meat or not, but we advocate for the proper conditions of domestic animals while they're alive,'' points out Mae, who says they had big plans, but after ten years they are already a little tired and have lost hope that some of it will ever come to be.

This does not mean that they do not have wild animals visit within the vicinity of the Pazin Animal Shelter, because of the proximity of drinking water in the stream, they often see wild pigs, foxes, roe deer, badgers, rabbits, weasels and more.

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Saturday, 5 October 2019

Successful Donation Action for Animal Shelter in Pazin, Istria

Animal welfare is a burning issue for anyone who has half a heart, and in Croatia, there is a lot that could be improved at the city, county, municipal and even state level when it comes to respectable animal welfare practice. While some more popular tourist cities, such as Dubrovnik, continue to act ignorantly and fail absolutely miserably when it comes to animal welfare, other cities across Croatia are much more proactive. Pazin in Istria is one of them.

As Glas Istre/Andjelo Dagostin writes on the 4th of October, 2019, in the popular Poreč Italian Community building, a donation action for the Happy End Association - an asylum for both dogs and cats in Pazin, organised by the Poreč Lions Club, was held in Poreč's Freedom Square (Trg Slobode).

In the aforementioned building, a large number of members from Novigrad, Pula, Poreč and Opatija, as well as the residents of Poreč and a large number of children gathered together for the donation action.

It was an evening of magic, cabaret, poetry, dance, music with the participation of the magician Dario, cabaretist Davidina from Trieste (Italy), duo Anita and Dante Marušić from Buje, tenor Kristian Marušić from Grožnjan, poet Valter Turčinović from Buje, cellist Hana Gubić from Poreč, pianist Suzana Uršić, flamenco dancers of ASD Ventaglio from Trieste (choreographed by Hana Rivano), "Wild Country Dancers" from the Buje-based ''Liv'' Association, Ele Dance from Trieste, Mrs. Bojana and her dog Frida's show, and the presentation of the dog hotel ''Istra Dog Land''.

All the performers performed for free in order to collect animal food, medicine and donation money for the Pazin-based Happy End Association, which cares for a large number of dogs and cats in its asylum. Everybody in attendance donated money or brought food for the dogs and cats instead of tickets, and a light dinner and drinks was organised for everyone after the show.

A special contribution was made by the Bau Miao Help Association from Buje, which collected and brought in 29.5 kilograms of dog biscuits, 14 kilograms of cat biscuits, 21 kilograms of wet food (meat) for cats, 21 kilograms of cat meat, five kilograms of cat litter with anti-odor granules included, large and small containers, pillows and blankets.

In total, more than ten thousand kuna was donated in cash for the purchase of yet more food and animal medicines, and around the same amount was donated in both dog and cat food.

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Saturday, 20 July 2019

Motovun Municipality Sets Animal Welfare Example to Rest of Croatia

July the 20th, 2019 - When it comes to animal welfare, it's an understatement to say that there is a lot to be desired for in Croatia when speaking in general terms. Of course, on an individual level the care tends to be good, bar a few cruel and disgusting acts which unfortunately take place all over the world. The state's initiatives for animal welfare however, are desperately lacking.

One of the charms of the Croatian coast are its many, many cats wandering around the stone streets in search of a dropped fish or a bit of meat from under a restaurant table. While some find the presence of so many (often loud) street cats a bit off-putting, most people find that multicoloured cats, sometimes with a missing ear or eye, searching for scraps among the array of legs to be sweet.

Dubrovnik, where the cat colonies reign strong, is one of Croatia's problem cities when it comes to the care of these animals. Instead of introducing a capture, sterilise and release program funded either by the local government or indeed possibly through the EU, Dubrovnik chooses to completely ignore the increasing issue of too many feral cats wandering the streets, breeding not only among themselves but in turn breeding parasites and potentially dangerous diseases.

Cruel individuals tend to try to ''fix'' this problem by placing poison down, resulting in a slow and absolutely agonising death for the animal that has eaten it, as well as for any animal which then comes to eat its body.

The famous makeshift animal shelter located on the top of Bosanka, Žarkovica, run by the tireless animal lover Sandra Sambrailo and receiving no support from the city is just another shame of Dubrovnik which it has tried to push further and further away from the glitz and the glam of the centre of town, as if exporting its problem out towards the border with Bosnia, so as to have as little to do with it as possible.

This ugly side of Dubrovnik isn't seen by many, and that is, just as with many other Croatian tourist destinations - just how they like it.

Fortunately, unlike the City of Dubrovnik and its continually neglectful, shameful policy towards its stray animals, a municipality in Central Istria with much less international popularity has taken charge in caring for its stray cats. 

The Motovun Municipality writes on its Facebook page:

''In cooperation with activists, the vet hospital and the Motovun park communal company, the Motovun Municipality is taking care of stray cats. The cats are regularly sterilised/castrated, and a few days ago, the Motovun Municipality also received two wonderful new cat feeding stations.

The feeding stations consist of a covered area for food and water, and in the extension, there is a separate space in the form of a box where the animals can escape from the cold and rain.

The feeding stations are located beneath the first city gates, and below the kindergarten. The aim is to provide the animals with a safe and quiet feeding and living space to try to keep as many cats as possible away from the city squares and off the streets, as well as from the terraces of hospitality facilities.

We'd like to thank Radijal K Izrada Stolarije carpentry, who made and donated the feeding stations for the cats, we'd like to thank activists for caring for the animals and for their cooperation, we'd also like thank the vet hospital in Poreč for its excellent cooperation and professional work, suggestions and assistance, and the utility company Motovun park d.o.o. which transported the new feeding stations here to Motovun and set them up at their foreseen locations.

The Municipality of Motovun is a pet friendly destination!''

Bravo, Motovun!

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