12/21/15 City of Dubrovnik with Police Against Dogs
Animal Friends' warning about the alarming and embarrassing situation in the Croatian tourist center
- A demonstration of power at Zarkovica: shelter manager arrested, dogs violently taken away from the shelter at night
Between 0:30 midnight and 2:30 A.M. on Sunday night, on behalf of the City of Dubrovnik were undertaken unnecessary repressive measures against dogs and volunteers in the shelter located in Zarkovica. According to witnesses, accompanied by riot police, dogs were herded into a vehicle and taken away from the shelter. Police blocked the area around midnight and prevented access to shelter volunteers. Sandra Sambrailo from the Society for the Protection of Animals Dubrovnik was brought to the police station. During the whole mess, police was grabbing dogs with the ropes while some of them escaped from the shelter.
According to the volunteers, there hasn't been presented any official warrant. Witnesses stated that they are ashamed to live in a country where the police are ordered to carry out such actions, contrary to common sense, and the way it all happened at night is another evidence of suspicious activity and lack of transparency.
All this happened on the eve of the transfer of part of the animals from the shelter at Zarkovica that the City announced for December 21, and which is opposed by the Society for the Protection of Animals Dubrovnik and a large number of citizens and associations. The Society has, therefore, called the citizens to gather in the morning at Zarkovica and give support to the remaining dogs, but City prepared surprise with the night action. Instead of dialogue and reasonable actions for the benefit of animals and Dubrovnik, the City of Dubrovnik sent a riot police on volunteers, who are already for 15 years taking care of unwanted and abandoned dogs and cats from the streets, treating them as criminals.
The leadership of Dubrovnik, led by Mayor Andro Vlahusis, decided by referring to the decision of the veterinary inspection that until they build their shelter, dogs from Zarkovica need to be moved to other shelters across the Croatia. They announced to take 89 dogs. There is a legitimate concern that the dogs who were taken at night sentenced to death because, according to the volunteers, they have been taken to shelters that have a policy of killing dogs after 60 days.
Volunteers provided animals with all they could from the available resources, and usually from their own pocket, that way doing the job of the City of Dubrovnik and seeking to build their own shelter. The city of Dubrovnik is among the richest Croatian cities and leads in neglecting abandoned animals, for many years ignoring the legal obligations of building shelters. With this move, which cannot be justified, they got the situation even more aggravate.
Animal Friends wonders how it is possible that the City of Dubrovnik kidnaps dogs at night, without a warrant and supervision of veterinary inspection, no clear information whether the vehicles from Split, Sibenik, Medulin and Pakrac were registered for dog transportation and without a signed document that these dogs will not be killed.
Citizens criticize the leadership of Dubrovnik in an enormous expenditure of budgetary funds on a series of false promises, the inefficiency and lack of humanity towards innocent animals, although for years there are plans to build a shelter and the resources for it are provided. Instead, to set the standards for others as a major tourist site, Dubrovnik has once again betrayed abandoned animals that were for years on the hill above the city and that were treated with care and love from volunteers.
Events in Dubrovnik are a disgrace to this tourist city and also for the whole Croatia, especially now, at a time of huge problems with dogs in Romani settlements in Medjimurje. City needs to appreciate the self-sacrificing work of volunteers and the Society for the Protection of Animals Dubrovnik and establish cooperation with them instead of abducting dogs forcibly during the night.
Animal Friends believes that the leadership of the City of Dubrovnik should return all the dogs in the shelter Zarkovica and build its own shelter, invest in vaccination and castration of dogs and their advertising programs and adoption. Instead of a negative image of hating dogs, Dubrovnik should become a friend of the animals and wisely invest funds to care for their dogs to find a home. This would avoid the costs of placing dogs in shelters. They should invest in skilled marketing campaign and increase the number of adopted dogs, especially during the tourist season.
Animal Friends will file charges with the District Attorney by asking to examine the legality of the seizure of the dogs that are owned by the Society for the Protection of Animals and the way that it was carried out. Animal Friends is urging citizens to write to the City of Dubrovnik and request rescue animals from Zarkovica.