Increasingly, in much of the enlightened world there is a sense of companionship and understanding between caring dog owners and their cherished pets. These relationships are mutually beneficial, incredibly rewarding and never stop growing. If only ALL dogs were so lucky.
Network for Animals’ campaign against the Dog Meat Trade in the Philippines began in 1998 and continues to take direct action for dogs, today. Sadly, as this campaign has progressed, we became increasingly aware of the worldwide suffering of dogs outside of the dog meat trade. Poisoning, starvation, abandonment, overpopulation and abuse claim millions of canine lives each year. This is often at the hands of individuals, but also through the neglect or actions of governments and local authorities.
Network for Animals “Dogs In Distress” campaign aims to give as many animals as possible a life free of pain and suffering – a life full of joy and compassion – a life protected by the governments of the countries in which they live and supported by caring and responsible people. Here are just a few of our worldwide projects.
We have learnt that one of the most useful things we can do is to raise public awareness about the appalling cruelty to dogs that takes place throughout the world. Thanks to our supporters sharing our newsletters, we have achieved remedial action in many cases.
In late 2016, Network for Animals began work at the Zarcovica Animal Shelter in Dubrovnik, home to 300 desperate dogs. They have a wonderful view overlooking the famous tourist city, but that’s all they have. Network for Animals has stepped in to help. We are providing financial assistance and paying for a worker to help care for the animals. We are also working with Mato Francovic, the mayor of Dubrovnik to create a modern municipal shelter.
Network for Animals provided Zarcovica with funds to build more enclosures and helped pay for all 300 dogs to be vaccinated, an essential condition the Croatian government laid down if the shelter is to remain open.
Since 1998, Network for Animals, in partnership with local animal protection organizations, has led the fight to end the brutal dog meat trade in the Philippines. Every year, tens of thousands of dogs, many of them stolen pets, are slaughtered in barbaric conditions; thousands of dogs 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, before the dog is left for days without food or water in temperatures that exceed 86 °F. Once acquired, 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 along with the living.
In the illegal and makeshift slaughterhouses, dogs are most commonly slaughtered by having their throats cut, but are also known to be clubbed to death and scalded. The fur is often singed 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 work in Philippine schools, and reports of our raids are regularly broadcast on Philippine news networks.
Our team operate a network of informants across the Philippines, monitor suspected slaughtering locations and smuggling vehicles, and organize 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 as recently as 2016. 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 scores of 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.
In Havana, the government captures stray dogs, flings them into trucks and takes them to an extermination camp where they are poisoned with strychnine, one of the most brutal poisons known to man. The dogs die in agony, muscle spasms spread to every muscle in the body and death takes twenty minutes.
Network for Animals is campaigning in Cuba to end the governmental poisoning of dogs, and working to provide impoverished carers, shelters (like the one above) and volunteer vets with the surgical tools, food and medicines that they desperately need.
Cuba is a very difficult place to work but we are making progress and look forward to improving animal welfare in Cuba in the coming months and years.
Network for Animals has been helping dogs in Greece since 2015 when the financial crisis in the country caused many people to abandon their pets. Abandoned dogs roam industrial parks, old factories, and on derelict ground. They are hungry, homeless, and often in need of medical attention.
We teamed up with Ghost Dogs of Aspropyrgos, a dedicated band of volunteers who were doing their best, with very limited resources, to feed hungry animals, take care of their veterinary needs and offer hope to dogs living in dreadful circumstances. Network for Animals has committed a total of €50,000 over a five-year period to provide support, including dog food and medical care. We also provide funds for emergency rescues and natural disasters.
SUPPORT FOR DOGS IN PANTELLERIA
Pantelleria BAU is the only animal shelter on the Italian island of Pantelleria. Network for Animals provides funding for food and veterinary care. The work of our founders, Brian and Gloria Davies, was recently recognised by local authorities who unveiled a plaque honouring their work for animal welfare.
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 pitbulls rescued from dog fighting. We recently donated funds for special accommodation for two pit bulls who would otherwise have been euthanised. We also provide food and veterinary care.
In Montenegro, city officials in Nikšić, the country’s second-largest city, issued an instruction that when cages at the local animal shelter were full, the dogs should be killed. We made an agreement with city officials to provide fencing, kennels and water tanks and ongoing support – in return for the shelter adopting a no-kill policy.
Thanks to our work, the dogs in the Nikšić animal shelter are safe. We are now working to raise funds to equip a medical clinic at the shelter.
We are now expanding our work in Montenegro. We discovered a dreadful situation in the tourist town of Bar, where street dogs receive no care at all from authorities and roam, sick and breeding uncontrollably. We donate funds to assist local volunteers to feed and provide veterinary care for the animals. Our sister organisation, PAL is now in touch with local authorities to discuss the creation of a municipal shelter.
With your crucial support, Network for Animals helped save the lives and secure the future of 640 dogs that live at Sasha’s Shelter in Niš, in southern Serbia.
When Sasha, a truly brave and devoted animal lover, laid criminal charges of animal cruelty against the municipal pound – a place where there is overwhelming evidence of appalling cruelty – the authorities responded by threatening to close Sasha’s Shelter.
Thanks to an international outcry instigated by Network for Animals, the dogs were saved and the municipal pound placed under strict new regulation. Volunteers now have the right to remove any dog they feel is being ill-treated or not receiving appropriate medical care.
Network for Animals collaborates with The Emma Animal Rescue Society (TEARS), in a drive to give hundreds of dogs in the Vrygrond shantytown a happier, healthier life. Vrygrond is a very poor area of Cape Town where many people have barely enough food to feed their families. Network for Animals is committed to helping TEARS ensure that all the dogs in the area are spayed or neutered, treated for disease and monitored on a weekly basis.
Fallen Angels is a search and rescue shelter for injured and abandoned dogs and cats in Yzerfontein in South Africa’s Western Cape, a rural area with a large population of poor people. Fallen Angels is home to 255 dogs and 40 cats, all of which are spayed and neutered and available for adoption. Staffed entirely by volunteers who take no salaries, the shelter provides an essential service, without which many dogs would die. Network for Animals provides funds for food, veterinary care and essential infrastructure. In addition, we finance regular search and rescue missions and provide emergency funding.
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 cruel gangsters involved in illegal dog-fighting.
Working with 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 and we are assisting him to obtain a driver’s licence to make it easier for him to get sick animals to a vet..
Many of the dogs Shaygam saves faced ending 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 teaches people kindness to animals and uses every cent he can scrape together to patrol and protect the area’s animals, providing food, love and care. He rescues dogs whenever he can.
Shaygam has a healing gift. He can heal dogs that vets would deem lost causes, almost miraculously turning them into well-adjusted happy dogs.
Shaygam tries to set a good example and recruits what he calls “Shaygam’s crew,” youngsters from the area, who normally would be tempted by gangs to lead a life of crime. He teaches them instead to love and care for animals.
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 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, Thai Animal Sanctuary has literally been the difference between life and death.
Our sister organisation, PAL is also actively working with politicians to strengthen animal protection legislation in Thailand and, with the police, to enforce existing laws and prevent the illegal transport of dog and cats across the Thai border to Vietnam and China where they would be slaughtered for human consumption.
Turkey is the scene of an appalling animal welfare scandal. In a 50-square kilometre area around Tavşanli 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. There is no veterinary care and no sterilisation programmes.
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 fertiliser 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 fertiliser.
A small animal shelter has been constructed near the town which houses some 50 dogs. When Professor Dr. Veysel Eroğlu, Minister of Forestry and Water Affairs, (the minister responsible for animal welfare), visited the area and was questioned by animal lovers he said that because there is a shelter, there is no problem.
NFA was denied access when our team tried to visit the shelter. 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 is working with its sister organisation, the Political Animal Lobby to address this horrific situation. We are asking the Turkish government to step in and ensure that the dogs have the humane care prescribed under Turkish law. We are also seeking to raise public awareness about the scandalous conditions for dogs and chickens in Tavşanli.
Animal shelters receive no financial assistance from government or local authorities in Uruguay and the weak animal welfare legislation that exists, is rarely enforced. APA El Refugio is an animal shelter in Montevideo where 400 dogs, mostly old or crippled, find safety and love. Many of the older dogs need special food. Network for Animals has pledged to provide financial support to APA El Refugio.