A few months back we were contacted by Marco and Kristin, a couple of travellers calling themselves Dos Trotamundos, who fell in love with Croatia during a trip there in 2012.
Marco and Kristin wanted to bring to our attention the very good work done by a local vet in Split, Dr Filipovic who, together with her team of animal lovers, are trying to setup an animal shelter for the city of Split.
This is a much needed project to look after the local stray cats, dogs and other animals, since the only other nearest shelter is in Sibenik, almost 90km away. The large city of Split does not currently have such a facility to care for the local animals, which are in dire need of help.
Hello Kristin, tell us about your story, what is your connection to Croatia, when did you go there?
Marco and I were married in 2011 and spent 2012 backpacking through Asia, Europe and North America. We chose to spend 5 weeks in Split, Croatia on a whim after finding an apartment rental online. We were close to the end of our yearlong adventure and wanted to relax for a bit near the water. Croatia seemed like a perfect fit. We fell in love with the people, food, culture, lifestyle and natural beauty. It was while staying in Split in September 2012 that Marco and I found a tiny, skinny, helpless and very sick kitten as we were walking home one evening, and his story of survival took us on a path to meet some locals who are doing a wonderful job.
-so this is how you discovered the Split Animal Shelter?
Yes, we knew this little fellow would not survive long without care. There was no way we could leave him, so we wrapped him in a blanket, carried him upstairs and went to work searching for a local animal shelter. This is how we came across Dr Filipovic and her incredible team. At the time they were a veterinarian office and a foundation, Animal Protective Foundation, with a commitment to caring for all of the city's animals and a dream of building a shelter for Split.
They took the kitten in and nursed him back to health over a few weeks. During his recovery we would visit most days to check on him and play. It gave us an opportunity to learn about Animal Protective Foundation's mission, challenges and goals. You can read the full story in these two posts on our Blog:
-a shadow that changed our lives (1) and
-a shadow that changed our lives (2)
Tell us what kind of work does the Shelter do?
When Marco and I left Split in early October 2012, Dr. Filipovic had secured land to build a no-kill animal shelter to serve the city of Split and the surrounding area and begun preliminary conversations with the local government for operational funding. With the closest shelter just over an hour away and a constant stream of stray animals, Dr Filipovic knows the desperate need for a local facility to care for, find homes and save these animals.
Throughout 2013, Dr Filipovic and her team focused on raising funds and awareness through the Animal Protective Foundation to support the shelter build. While she will be able to apply for government funding to help support the shelter once operational, all capital funding to build the shelter is being raised privately through individual and corporate donors.
As you can see from the photos, she has lead an effort in the local community that has transformed an empty overgrown lot into a safe haven for homeless animals to be cared for while they wait for permanent homes. This amazing woman and her team are providing a long-term solution for the city of Split and we continue to be impressed by her passion, determination and commitment to achieving what is required.
How can animal lovers help the Shelter in the work they do?
For those inspired by the work of Dr. Filipovic, the best way to help is to make a donation.
As of the end of 2013, significant progress has been made in building the shelter, but final requirements must be completed for approval from the government to be operational. This approval dictates the ability for Dr. Filipovic to secure the government contract to be the designated animal shelter for Split and receive funding to sustain general operating expenses.
Their latest hurdle is to raise the funds for the front gate to complete the fencing perimeter which will cost roughly 500 euros ($680 USD). They are so close to completing the no-kill shelter and providing a needed service for the community. Please consider a contribution. Marco and I have set up an online funding campaign at www.gofundme.com/splitshelterbuild.
You can make an online donation through this link. Your donation will go DIRECTLY to help and support the shelter, no middle men or organizations in between. To date, $2,564 USD has been donated by 75 people.
We periodically post updates for donors on the website www.gofundme.com so you can see your generosity in motion. Below is a thank you note from Dr. Filipovic in December 2012 to the donors who raised the first $2,500 USD.
She is truly appreciative and inspired by the help given.
We wish to thank all of you donors for your generous donations, it’s a specially motivating thought that someone so far away cares about our cause and the animals in our city. Despite the fact that the whole world is shaken with the economic crisis, you chose to help us, and with your help we focused on working hard which produced results, in december alone we placed twenty animals in their new homes with caring owners. We know that you have all given up some things to help us, and despite the great distance, we feel your concern for the abandoned animals, and wish you that the kindness that you showed pays back in the best possible way. We would especially like to thank Kristin and Marco who gave us excellent guidelines and expanded our mission to all of you. We would like for all of you to visit Croatia and Split, as well as our shelter which you are helping to build. Also, we wanna thank Bernard who is greatly supporting our mission with his engagement . We wish you all a prosperous and happy New Year.
Zdenka Filipovic dr. vet. med., and all of the staff of the Animal Protective Foundation.
The headquarters of the Foundation for the Protection of Animals in Split, Kukuljevićeva 1, Croatia
e-mail address zaklada.za.zivotinje @ gmail.com
you can also read another article by blogger Alicia Scott at this link:
The cats of the old city