Animal shelters are going through some tough times around the world and not all of them are well supported. Some fortunate animals end up in a good shelter with staff that are kind and professional. But often it is not the case and abandoned animals end up in facilities called shelters that are nothing more than sheds.

Approximately 6.5 million animals enter US animal shelters annually and of those 3.3 million are dogs. Each year, roughly 1.5 million animals in these shelters are euthanized.

Shelters are managed or supported by government, animal welfare organizations, or private entities. Some rely on donations alone, while others receive tax support – which comes at a great cost – as regulation states that some animals must be turned over for cruel experiments if money is to be provided.

Animals in shelters are suffering physically and emotionally as a result of ongoing systematic abuse, neglect, funding constraints and negligence.

Dubrovnik, Croatia, is a beautiful tourist destination but what you don’t see is the government’s lack of involvement in its animal shelters. Dubrovnik is home to the Žarkovica Animal Shelter, which is currently run by Sandra Sambralio, who has taken on an impossible task of helping animals in need with little support.

The shelter is located on a historical mountainside fortress and the weather conditions are harsh with strong winds, excessive rains, lightning and thunderstorms. The sun and heat is unforgiving during summer months and there is nowhere to take refuge from the freezing rains in winter.

The city has occasionally provided the shelter with food, but it is not nearly enough to feed the 300 dogs that live there. They rely heavily on public donations, which often run short leaving the dogs hungry, wet and cold.

Animal welfare organization, Network for Animals (NFA), has stepped in to help the shelter.

David Barritt, chief campaigner for NFA, said: “These animals are truly suffering and Sandra and her team have to make a daily climb up the mountain to take the dogs food and water. No shelter that truly cares for animals should ever turn its back on animals in need, and so we are committed to doing all we can for this shelter and help as many distressed dogs as we can.”

You can find out more about Network for Animals and our efforts in Croatia by clicking here.