For the last 11 weeks, our primary communication has been about animals in need in war-ravaged Ukraine, but now another urgent issue must be brought to your attention... Roatan is a stunning holiday island off the northern coast of Honduras,...
In Trebinje, a city in the south of Bosnia and Herzegovina, dogs are the responsibility of garbage disposal and are dumped on the local rubbish dump. The dogs live in a thick daily plague of flies and insects, that spread diseases and cause irritation and skin infections. They breathe a constant fog of smoke from burning waste. We have committed to an exciting and ambitious project to change the lives of the dogs forever, and to improve their chances of finding forever homes – with our help, a new dog shelter is to be built in a more suitable location. We have identified a suitable state-owned site and are working with City officials to design and build a state-of-the-art shelter where the dogs will be well cared for. The shelter will be large enough to re-house all the dogs in new and modern conditions, designed with their welfare as the primary concern.
Žarkovica Animal Shelter
In Croatia, Network for Animals has fought for six years to have the city of Dubrovnik meet its legal obligation to provide a municipal shelter for street dogs. Currently, 360 street dogs find refuge at the privately owned Žarkovica shelter. We provide two full-time workers for the shelter and other assistance as needed, but Žarkovica is not a long-term solution. The shelter is illegally located on a UNESCO heritage site, positioned on the side of a steep mountain, where the dogs are exposed to harsh weather conditions. Mato Franković, Dubrovnik’s mayor, has now promised a new shelter within six months.
Ghost Dogs of Aspropyrgos
There are more than a million street dogs in Greece and many of them are abandoned pets. COVID-19, following a massive financial crisis, made things so tough people could no longer afford to feed their dogs. Aspropyrgos, a huge, semi-rural area near the city of Athens, has become a dumping ground for unwanted animals, who face deprivation, starvation and the chilling prospect of being captured and used in illegal dog-fighting prevalent in the area’s numerous gypsy camps.
The dogs are so afraid that they become “ghost dogs”, so-called because when our team feeds them, they appear, eat and then disappear into their hiding places like ghosts.
Together with our partner organization, Ghost Dogs of Aspropyrgos, we feed, provide veterinary care and sterilize street dogs and try to find them loving homes.
Rifugio del Cane Abbandonato della Favorita
The Rifugio del Cane Abbandonato della Favorita shelter in Palermo provides a safe haven for hundreds of street dogs, with a special emphasis on helping dogs rescued from organized dogfighting. We donated funds for special accommodation for two pit bulls who would otherwise have been euthanized. We also provided food and veterinary care.
The dog meat trade is often associated with certain Asian countries. However, this cruel and inhumane practice is thriving in parts of Africa. In Mali, thousands of dogs are brutally slaughtered and sold for human consumption. In collaboration with our on-the-ground partners, Araf Plateau Dogon, Network for Animals urges dog traders to make the transition to cereal farming. In addition, we are committed to building up a network of local shelters to assist with the rescuing, feeding, treating and rehoming of as many dogs as possible. In pursuit of more long-term solutions, we also work with policymakers and put pressure on national governments to ensure future abolition of the dog meat trade.
Fiona Animal Refuge (FAR)
In Hidalgo, Network for Animals supports the Fiona Animal Refuge (FAR), an animal shelter that focuses on reducing overpopulation and animal abuse. We provide FAR with a monthly grant to assist with food and essential veterinary care for street dogs. Recently, we provided funding for doggy wheelchairs for the paralyzed dogs who live there.
Los Cabos Humane Society (LCHS)
Although Los Cabos is the fastest growing (by population) Mexican city, it has no municipal shelters or animal control agencies. Network for Animals supports the Los Cabos Humane Society (LCHS) which endeavors to fill the gap. LCHS focuses on providing aid to several thousand dogs each year, reducing animal overpopulation by carrying out spay-neuter campaigns and changing people’s mindsets about caring for their animals. It also operates a no-kill cattery and educational outreach programs.
We support several projects in Montenegro, a small Balkan country which only became independent in 2006 and is still recovering from the consequences of the socio-economic transition and hefty sanctions that occurred in the 1990s after the break-up of Yugoslavia and the civil war.
We provided funds for a nationwide survey of all Montenegro’s animal shelters and submitted it to the government. Subsequently, one of our team members, Tijana Kovačević, was appointed to a national government animal welfare working group, giving Montenegro’s animals a voice at the highest level.
We fund legal help/representation for animal cruelty cases which include misdemeanor but also felonies, with a special focus on monitoring the work of the competent authorities, to ensure they take these cases more seriously.
We have also provided educational materials on animal care to schools.
Much of our work in Montenegro involves direct action on the ground. We work with the municipal authorities in Nikšić, the country’s second-largest city, to help run the municipal dog shelter which, before our involvement, was merely a holding pen, before the animals were killed. It is now a no-kill shelter. We have provided water, fencing, kennels and medical care and have equipped a medical clinic at the shelter.
In Nikšić, we also provide a feeding service for street dogs who do not live at the shelter, making sure they get a daily meal.
In a farming area near Nikšić, we support an impoverished farmer named Zelijana Delibasic who cares for a large group of abandoned street dogs and numerous feral cats in and around her property. We have committed to provide food for her 33 dogs and the cats for the winter months, as well as funds to build a new shared kennel as the dogs currently have nowhere to shelter form the snow and icy winds. We have also promised to provide fencing to prevent the animals from running into the busy main road nearby.
In Kolasin, located in the mountainous north of Montenegro, 150 street dogs live in a hugely underfunded shelter run single-handedly by Danijela Vuksanovic, who is suffering from advanced cancer. Network for Animals has successfully raised funds to feed the dogs through the winter months, with monthly food deliveries now organized, and are focused on urgently building new kennels to protect them from snow and cold. We have now had several meetings with the municipality and are actively working with it to find a sustainable long-term solution.
In the coastal town of Kotor, we are working with local authorities to improve conditions at its municipal shelter. We are providing support funds and are now helping to create a quarantine area for newly arrived street dogs.
Since 1998, Network for Animals, in partnership with local animal protection organizations, has led the fight to end the brutal illegal dog meat trade in the Philippines. Every year, dogs – many of them stolen pets – are slaughtered in barbaric conditions; a large percentage die while being transported. Those who survive the journey are killed in makeshift slaughterhouses. Despite hard-fought-for legislation, the industry continues to exist because laws are not actively enforced by local police.
Dog meat traders acquire animals by stealing pets, rounding up strays, and purchasing unwanted dogs. Upon acquisition, a dog’s muzzle is often bound with nylon string, then the dog is left for days without food or water in temperatures that often exceed 86 °F (30°C). During transport, the trussed dogs are crammed so tightly into wire or bamboo cages, they are literally unable to move. The lucky ones are forced against the cage walls and may manage to get some fresh air in the stifling heat. The dogs in the middle or bottom of the load are less fortunate and regularly suffocate or die of heat stroke. Conditions, while caged, regularly generate pre-slaughterhouse mortality rates of 40-50 percent. This is of no concern to the dog meat traders who butcher and sell the dead and then kill the living.
In the illegal, makeshift slaughterhouses, dogs are usually slaughtered by having their throats cut but are also sometimes scalded and clubbed to death. The fur is often burnt off with a blowtorch, to create a charred appearance which is popular with customers. As you will imagine, veterinary observers report extreme levels of suffering and anxiety among the dogs.
Dog-meat-eating was banned in Manila in 1982 and nationwide in 1998 under the Philippine Animal Welfare Act (Republic Act (RA) 8485), with exemptions for dogs killed and eaten as part of indigenous rituals. With NFA and other NGO support, the national ban was bolstered by the Rabies Act (RA 9482) and the meat code of the Philippines (RA10536), which upgraded penalties for convicted dog meat traders to include jail time and substantially increased fines as a means of limiting the spread of rabies.
NFA’s animal welfare campaigning within the Philippines promotes rabies awareness alongside other health concerns involved in the dog meat trade. Around 10,000 dogs and 350 humans die of rabies in the Philippines, each year. Our team regularly works in Philippine schools, and reports of our raids are regularly broadcast on Philippine news networks.
Our team operates a network of informants across the Philippines, monitoring suspected slaughtering locations and smuggling vehicles, and organizing raids to tackle the traders. Persuading local police, meat inspection services and veterinarians to take part is time-consuming, expensive and difficult. Raids are dangerous, and guns have been discovered in raided compounds. One of our workers was kidnapped and held hostage by dog meat traders. These are risks that have to be taken because only our continued action against the dog meat trade will bring the brutality to an end.
In 1998, trucks stuffed with live dogs were still visible on the streets of the Philippines, despite the existing laws. Today, we have forced the trade underground, but bars and restaurants still serve dog meat when they think we are not in the area. Most of the dogs are sourced in the provinces of Batangas and Laguna to the south of Manila, then transported live to the provinces of Benguet, La Union and Ilocos Sur where they are slaughtered and consumed.
NFA has helped achieve major reductions in the Philippine consumption of dog meat. It is now almost unheard of in the capital of Metro Manila, and widely considered an embarrassment to the nation’s reputation. With your support, NFA will continue to fight the dog meat trade until it is ended once-and-for-all.
Hangberg is a South African slum near Cape Town, where 28,000 people live in grinding poverty and squalor. Riots and lawlessness are commonplace. The area is a base for gangsters involved in illegal dogfighting.
Working with local activist Shaygam Newman, Network for Animals has made substantial progress in feeding and providing veterinary care for the community’s dogs. Orphaned as a child, Shaygam was so abused by a drunken uncle that he slept on the streets, finding love with the street dogs who kept him warm at night. He swore to repay the dogs, and today he is their voice, their champion.
In 2016, Network for Animals started guiding Shaygam on how to help dogs more effectively. He now feeds, dips and rescues many of the community’s dogs. Many of the dogs Shaygam rescues were destined to end up torn to pieces in dogfighting pits.
Gangsters see dogs as expendable commodities to be exploited for profit. These horrible people torture dogs, starve them, lock them in small cages for months at a time, before throwing them into a pit to be torn to death by dogs trained to do just that.
Shaygam can’t fight the gangsters alone so he recruited ‘Shaygam’s Crew’, a team of local youngsters to teach people kindness to animals and to patrol and protect the area’s animals.
Shaygam has a healing gift. He can heal dogs that vets would deem lost causes, almost miraculously turning them into well-adjusted happy dogs.
Dogs are often condemned to lives of misery in the Westlake township, located in the South African city of Cape Town. Rife with poverty and crime, animals there are often subjected to neglect, starvation, abuse, dogfighting and over-breeding. We support Fur-Get-Me-Knot, a small group of volunteers who are dedicated to helping the animals there. Together with Fur-Get-Me-Knot, we help the animals of Westlake by providing food, medical care and vital vaccinations, and sterilization. We also educate owners on how to properly care for their animals.
Sangkhlaburi Animal Sanctuary
In the northwest corner of Thailand, in the Province of Kanchanaburi, there is a remote border town (with Myanmar) called Sanghklaburi. It’s in the Golden Triangle area, the heart of the poppy/heroin trade, in the region of the country-less Karin Hill Tribes, a couple of hours from the Bridge over the River Kwai. The closest veterinarian is a four-hour journey. It is here where we fund the tireless work of the Sangkhlaburi Animal Sanctuary – rescues, food, medical care, shelter and a community-wide spay-neuter program for street dogs and cats. Our supporters make this work possible and together, we have taken pride and the greatest of satisfaction when, one after another, animals who once had no hope have recuperated and been invited to live out their lives with loving families as far away as England, Switzerland and Canada.
Turkey is the scene of an appalling animal welfare scandal. In a 20-square mile (50-square kilometer) area around Tepecik in southeastern Turkey, there are thousands of abandoned or wild dogs who exist by foraging on the diseased carcasses of chickens, dumped by egg-factories in the area.
Local authorities who by law must provide shelter, food and medical care for the dogs, do not do so.
There are two municipal feeding stations for the dogs but never any food in them. The only sources of water are streams polluted by effluent from local factories.
When an animal lover exposed the scandal, the authorities took him to court, alleging he killed dogs to create bad publicity for Turkey.
The area where the dogs live consists of forest, wilderness and fields. There are 200 chicken farms in the area and a large number of fertilizer factories. The dogs survive by eating the carcasses of diseased chickens dumped by the farms and, we are sad to report, by cannibalism of puppies.
Network for Animals has exposed shocking conditions at the chicken farms – conditions that breach Turkish law and international hygiene standards. Because so many dogs are dying, we are lobbying the government to test the level of toxins in streams polluted by fertilizer. So far, the authorities have not honored promises to do so.
A small animal shelter has been constructed near the town which houses only 50 dogs. We later obtained a sworn confession from a former municipal worker saying he and his colleagues had been forced to illegally kill or abandon some 14,000 dogs over a 20-year period on the instruction of local officials.
NFA lobbied the Turkish government asking the officials to step in and ensure that the dogs have the humane care prescribed under Turkish law. Action was promised but the situation remains unchanged.
The Friend of Animal Foundation (FAF)
The Friend of Animal Foundation reached out to Network for Animals for help in 2021; they were on the verge of closure and their animals were all at risk of being euthanized. We stepped in and helped save them just in the nick of time, and have pledged ongoing support for three years, which includes feeding the hundreds of animals in their care and providing enrichment areas and runs. FAF is the only private, no kill animal shelter for unwanted, abused, and abandoned companion animals in Zimbabwe.
Network for Animals “Dogs In Distress” campaign aims to give as many animals as possible a life free of pain and suffering.