Fighting for pitbulls in Sicily
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 dog fighting. We donated funds for special accommodation for two pit bulls who would otherwise have been euthanized. We also provided food and veterinary care.
The tsunami-sodden ground is soaked with radiation and Naoto laughs when he tells us that he’s been called the “most radioactive man in Japan.” The area is still radioactive and off-limits to most people; the animals there would die without Naoto’s help. Network for Animals provided funding for cattle feed and other food.
We are expanding our work in Montenegro, a small Balkan country which only became independent in 2006 and is still emerging from a civil war that ended in 1995.
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 Kovacevic, has been appointed to a government working group to give animals a voice at the highest level.
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 community of Nikšić, the country’s second-largest city, to help run the municipal dog shelter which, before our involvement, was merely a holding pen, before killing the animals. It is now a no-kill shelter. We have provided water, fencing, kennels and medical care and equipping a medical clinic at the shelter.
In the tourist town of Bar, street dogs receive no care at all from authorities, and roam sick, breeding uncontrollably. We donated funds to assist local volunteers to feed the animals and provide them with veterinary care. We are meeting with local authorities to discuss the creation of a municipal shelter.
In Ulcinj, we have exposed disgraceful conditions in the municipal shelter, where dogs often go hungry and where if they get sick, they are killed. We are in talks with local authorities to end this disgrace.
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.
Help for the poor dogs of Hangberg
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 dog fighting 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.
Thanks to our supporters, we are able to support the Thai Animal Sanctuary, a brave rescue group operating out of a remote and poverty-stricken corner of Thailand. The selfless efforts of the Thai Animal Sanctuary mean that hundreds, and ultimately thousands of dogs and cats have a chance at a life that simply did not exist before.
Were it not for their on-site veterinarian, the closest care for gravely ill and injured animals would mean an arduous four-hour journey. For puppies like Potato who was born with a deformed spine, the Thai Animal Sanctuary has literally been the difference between life and death.
Turkey is the scene of an appalling animal welfare scandal. In a 20-square mile (50-square kilometer) area around Tavşanli, and Tepecik in south eastern 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 source 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. This is one of the most disgraceful scandals that NFA has ever uncovered.
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 honoured 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.