We have told you before about our six-year-long battle to give 360 street dogs a chance of a decent life in Dubrovnik, Croatia’s richest city. Our fight continues – but there is hope and with your support today we can – we will – make a life-changing difference for the dogs.

To its intense shame, Dubrovnik has no municipal animal shelter, leaving the care of street dogs to one woman, Sandra Sambrailo, who almost single-handedly runs the private Zarkovica shelter on a bleak mountainside overlooking the city. The city gives only the most meager help to Zarkovica, saying the shelter is illegal.

One woman at a decrepit shelter is caring, all alone, for street dogs SIX YEARS after city promised a shelter! 1

For six years, we have been hearing promises that the dogs will soon be moved to a better location with proper housing, but the dogs are still suffering, exposed to extreme weather with no proper shelters. There is NO sign of things changing for the dogs.

No water, no proper shelters and no hope for 360 deprived dogs: THIS is what life is REALLY like for street dogs of Dubrovnik

When the Network for Animals team visited Zarkovica recently, we were horrified. We knew it was bad but had no idea it was THIS bad. Dispirited dogs could barely lift their heads in the scorching heat, made even more intense by climate change. Some dogs looked at us imploringly, silently begging us to take them to a loving home. Life is only marginally better for these dogs than if they were still stranded on the streets.

One woman at a decrepit shelter is caring, all alone, for street dogs SIX YEARS after city promised a shelter! 2

There is no running water at Zarkovica and no electricity. The animals have only rudimentary shelter from baking heat in summer and terrible wet, cold and windy winters. In winter, temperatures drop as low as 12 degrees Fahrenheit (-11 degrees Celsius) – conditions that create hellish lives for the dogs.

And winter is fast approaching. In another month, the dogs will start suffering bitterly.

Sandra does her best to care for the dogs, but although she would hate to hear it, Sandra is not getting any younger and must find it harder and harder to give the dogs the love and 24-hour-a-day care they need. If anything happened to Sandra, the dogs would be doomed.

Network for Animals has been helping the street dogs of Zarkovica since 2017. We have paid for food, medical treatment, fencing and vaccinations. Importantly, thanks to our supporters, we also pay for a worker to care for the animals. He is Zarkovica’s only full-time employee.

One woman at a decrepit shelter is caring, all alone, for street dogs SIX YEARS after city promised a shelter! 3

Only one full-time worker to care for 360 street dogs!
Water HAND-CARRIED DAILY up the mountain to the animals!

There are 360 dogs at Zarkovica. Imagine the amount of work needed to provide them with water; to feed them, clean up after them, take them for walks and give them even a sliver of love. And yet there is only one staff member, and our supporters pay for him. This is while greedy people in a city thronged with tourists don’t care. Sandra says she needs four or five full-time staff and has been pleading without success for the city authorities to help.

With our help, the dogs of Zarkovica get basic care, but they need so much more. Their shelters are falling apart, the fencing that stops them from getting loose on a dangerous road is collapsing, and water must be hand carried to the dogs who live near the top of the mountain. These dogs badly need your help.

One woman at a decrepit shelter is caring, all alone, for street dogs SIX YEARS after city promised a shelter! 4

As an animal lover, you know that we can’t stand by and let this situation continue. If you and others like you donate today, we will provide Zarkovica with the funds Sandra needs to get more workers to help the dogs.

If we can raise $14,000 (£10 000), that will pay for another full-time dog-carer for one year. Of course, we would like to do more, and we will if you help us.

The law says Dubrovnik must have a city shelter, so why isn’t there one?

Selfish people, lack of money and broken promises is the short answer. But, we are on the ground directly helping the dogs at Zarkovica, and we are pressing the city authorities to stop twiddling their thumbs and do their legal duty, which is to provide these poor animals with a proper home.

One woman at a decrepit shelter is caring, all alone, for street dogs SIX YEARS after city promised a shelter! 5

The land where Zarkovica is situated is absolutely wrong for a shelter because it is on a steep mountain with no protection from the elements. The dogs must move. Mato Francovic, the mayor of Dubrovnik, has found suitable spots twice, and each time local people vetoed them because they claimed the dogs would be too noisy. When he found a third piece of land, COVID struck and financial constraints put an end to the project. He has now found another piece of land and has given NFA his solemn promise that work will begin on creating a new shelter within a year, but Sandra does not believe him.

One woman at a decrepit shelter is caring, all alone, for street dogs SIX YEARS after city promised a shelter! 6

Sandra says that every promise the politicians have made to help the dogs has been broken, and that lie after lie has been told. Even if construction did begin in the next 12 months, it will take a long time to finish, which means the dogs still face years of unconscionable hardship.

We exist for one purpose – to help animals. We promise we will be there for Dubrovnik’s street dogs no matter what it takes, and give them all the help we can, but we can’t do it without you. Please, if you possibly can, donate generously today – 360 dogs will be so very grateful!

For the animals,

One woman at a decrepit shelter is caring, all alone, for street dogs SIX YEARS after city promised a shelter! 7

Brian and Gloria Davies (and Max and Flora!)
Founders
Network for Animals

P.S. Let us tell you about one dog at Zarkovica called Fido. We made two visits to the shelter recently, a week apart. On our first visit, Fido adopted one of our team members and followed him wherever he went, whimpering piteously when the team left. On our return visit, Fido was overjoyed, clearly figuring that we had come back to rescue him. We can’t personally rescue every dog, as much as we want to, but we can work to make their lives better – and that’s what will happen if you can donate today. Please help Fido and all the other dogs of Zarkovica by donating right now.