Article written by Fiona Sawney
In many Balkan countries, rescue missions that start with the best of intentions often turn slowly into horror stories as rescuers take in more and more desperate animals they cannot afford to care for, because there is no alternative.
Zarkovica in Dubrovnik started with good intentions, but over many years became a sad, unsuitable place for ever-increasing packs of abandoned dogs. Network for Animals worked to resolve this situation for seven years. We provided emergency care and support for the Zarkovica dogs whenever it was needed, but with over 260 dogs on an exposed hillside with no running water, electricity or proper medical care, the situation was never sustainable. NFA lobbied the city officials long and hard and when Mato Francovic was elected as the new mayor, the creation of a new shelter got underway. In the Balkans, projects like these take a long time, and before construction could begin the dogs ran out of time.
Last May, the Croatian veterinary inspectorate condemned the Zarkovica shelter and closed it down. Our team and partners from Animal Friends Croatia vowed that every single dog would be found a place to be cared for, and no dog would face death or be locked up in another unsuitable location as a result of this decision. NFA supporters stepped up with the funds for our team to go to work. We helped catalogue each dog, provided emergency medical treatment, and financed transportation to new forever homes and temporary foster homes.
We are happy to share the good news that 230 dogs have been relocated and our team has now helped relocate the last 35 dogs to a new location funded by the City of Dubrovnik, where they finally have the luxury of insulated housing, individual beds and blankets, an on-site clinic, water and electricity, and safe spaces to continue their journey towards forever homes. Every supporter who donated to this cause can celebrate and sleep easy now.